An outstanding, rare, 17th-century Japanese Izu mulberry wood gilt-lacquer cabinet raised on a later stand.
This fine and exceptional two-door, gilt-heightened cabinet, apparently in Izu mulberry wood – decorated in the typical Japanese manner with objects of reverence – opens to reveal a number of graduated fitted drawers, including one secret compartment. The drawer fronts beautifully decorated with gilded branches, black leaves and red flowers. The ivory crysanthemums, with additional embellishments of delicate red and black details, and the geese (along with tiny insects) to the door fronts are exquisite. The interior of the doors gilded with birds and what appear to be mulberry fruit issuing from branches executed in black and gold.
Retains its side-carrying handles and a working door lock within the elaborate escutcheon; all mounts very-admirably worked. This antique is in excellent condition, of deep rich colour and patina.
Unique Ivory Licence Ref Number: TN2V26DM
References and Literature:
According to Dr Stephen J Bowe, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University and author of Mulberry (2016), antique cabinets were lacquered in Japan on very rare mulberry wood from the Japanese Izu Islands.
Export lacquer cabinets destined for Europe were later raised on stands as the Japanese traditionally sat on the floor.
The goose in Japanese art narrative represents, inter alia, poetry and autumn. The rooster was domesticated thousands of years ago, where it was hailed for its ‘benevolence, faithfulness and courage’. The chrysanthemum (depicted on the cabinet door front) is the emblem of the highly-revered Japanese Imperial family.
V&A Explore The Collections – Cabinet On Stand
Mulberry: The Material Culture of Mulberry Trees – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mulberry-Material-Culture-Trees/dp/1781382433
Izu Islands – Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izu_Islands