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Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600
Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600 - Furniture Style Renaissance Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600 - Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600 - Renaissance Antiquités - Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600
Ref : 83771
Price on Request
Period :
17th century
Provenance :
Japan
Medium :
Lacquer, Mother-of-pearl, Shagreen, gold and copper powder, bronze, gilt wood
Dimensions :
l. 39.37 inch X H. 60.63 inch X P. 21.26 inch
Furniture  - Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600 17th century - Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600 Renaissance - Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600 Antiquités - Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600
Baptiste & Lenté

16th to 19th century furniture and works of art


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Namban Lacquer and mother-of-pearl cabinet, Japan circa 1600

Exceptional cabinet called "Namban" * in black lacquered wood decorated with gold powder (maki-e), copper, mother-of-pearl (raden) and shagreen inlays.

Of rectangular shape it opens with two front doors.

The top with three scale decoration, a geometric frieze inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a second area inlaid with shagreen framing in the center a rhombus enclosing with mother-of-pearl inlaid, two Fo dogs facing each other on a black background in a vegetal environment of peony branches.

The sides and the front have the same decoration but on a background studded with mother-of-pearl shards and unlike the top, the central scenes are surrounded by four "Mon" coats of arms. (Japanese heraldic symbols)

The two doors reveal an interior composed of seventeen drawers featuring a vegetal decoration particularly common in Japanese iconography, composed of Japanese maple leaves (Momizi) and volubilis (Asagao) which symbolize the arrival of spring, in mother-of-pearl frame.

The inner sides of the doors are decorated in gold, with wreaths of rushes and flowers in bamboo vases on a black background.

Rich gilt bronzes fittings finely engraved with flowers, including four hinges per door and corner protectors for the doors and the chest.

Very good original condition, light restorations on lacquer surface and mother-of-pearl inlays.


Japanese work for export to Europe, late Azuchi Momoyama period (1573-1603) - early Edo period (1603-1868) c. 1600-1620.


Very beautiful stand in gilt wood with baluster barrels adorned with chubby cherub heads and X-shaped stretchers topped with vases.

English work from the Charles II period (1630-1685). *


Dimensions:

Cabinet: height: 64 cm; width: 90 cm, depth: 52 cm

Stand: Height: 90 cm; width: 100 cm; depth: 54 cm

Total height: 154 cm




Namban cabinets and chests in museums:




Metropolitan Museum New York, British Museum in London, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Muséo d'Orient in Lisbon, Kobe Museum, Oksaka Museum, Ennery Museum Paris




* The term "Namban" literally means "barbarians of the south".

It designates the Portuguese who were the first to arrive in Japan in 1543.

While Europeans see the land of the rising sun as a rich and civilized land, the Japanese on the other hand despise these foreigners who eat with their fingers, fight, cry, laugh and show their feelings in public.

However, they allow these barbarians to trade with them and sell them the products of their crafts, especially the lacquers that the West loves.

Highly sought after, these objects are reserved for the sovereigns of European courts.

Western shapes like our "escritorio", they are decorated by the best Japanese craftsmen.

The westernization and Christianization of the country very quickly scared the emperor who decided to expel foreigners and close the country around 1640.

From then on these pieces become of the greatest rarity.

We know from Cardinal Mazarin's inventory that he owned around forty old lacquer chests, some of which were in "Namban" lacquer.

The princes of Condé, the Marquise de Pompadour and later Marie Antoinette also collected lacquer items of this type.

Unfortunately most of the pieces imported into France in the 17th century were confiscated during the revolution, put up for auction during the revolutionary sales, the majority of them went to England.




* Japanese workshops only made cabinets and they were exported in caravels as they are.

Once in Europe, the dealers had ordered giltwood stands in Portugal, France, England, Italy ...

If the primary function of these travel cabinets was to keep writing materials when the elite of the nobility travelled, these overpriced furniture very quickly became a ceremonial piece and no longer moved from the grand salons of the castles and palaces.

Craftsmen competed in ingenuity to produce opulent bases whose sole purpose was to showcase the room.

Very fragile, few of these pieces have reached us.

The presence of the stand, made in England during the reign of Charles II, is a major asset, it matches the desired decorative effect.




Our opinion :

The pieces in Namban lacquer are of the greatest rarity, reserved for an elite of the nobility or the clergy, they are mostly of modest formats.

With its inimitable brilliance our cabinet is one of the largest and richest pieces produced in Japan during the Portuguese commercial era, very few museums can boast of possessing such pieces.

Probably ordered by an important member of a European royal court, it has the double merit of being presented in very good condition and with its giltwood stand.

Baptiste & Lenté

CATALOGUE

Cabinet & Chest Renaissance

<   16th century
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17th century
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<   16th century
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A Indo-Portuguese cabinet, late 16th century