A small suzuribako (writing box), the nashiji ground with a design of windswept pines by a seashore, sparse shoots of bamboo nestling among boulders, where a small boat is moored. Waves lap gently around the sandbars and a group of chidori (plovers) arc above the stunted trees. To the left is a maru-ni-mitsuba aoi mon, or crest: three hollyhock leaves within a circle, representing the three houses of the Tokugawa clan. The design of stylised birds continues in the interior, swooping across a sparse nashij ground, scattered grasses below. The removeable interior has a tray for brushes and a water dropper of round form set within a many-lobed chrysanthemum holder.
Chidori are commonly described as plovers, but the Japanese word is also a homonym for “a thousand birds” – or many birds. Here the birds are described in simplified form with stylised brush strokes.
Dimensions: 10.9cm x 9.2cm
Irving Gould collection