photo: SAIKI Taku

Box, ”Harvest,” maki-e

ArtistNAKANO Koichi
Material/ TechniqueJapanese lacquer, wood, gold, egg shell, platinum
Size/ DurationH15.7×W27.5×D16.8cm
Copyright Notice© NAKANO Koichi
Year of acquisition/ donation2001
DescriptionBorn in Ishikawa, Japan in 1947. Lives and works there.

After graduating in 1967 from the Commercial Design Department at the Tokyo Design Institute, Nakano entered the world of ‘maki-e,’ having previously assisted his uncle with his work as a maki-e craftsman. In 1969 he began an apprenticeship with OBA Shogyo. Working from the initial lacquer coat, he creates designs featuring tame squirrels and rabbits, for example, using small animals and flora as his subject matter to give expression to Japan’s unique natural environment. By combining traditional maki-e techniques with a contemporary and innovative design sense, Nakano has succeeded in raising Japanese lacquer art to a new level.

A lively design featuring autumn plants and bounding rabbits against a muted background of white lacquer that takes full advantage of the shape of the cube. In "Box, “Harvest,” maki-e", attention has been paid to the finest details including the veins and wormholes in the leaves and the luster of the rabbit fur, all of which are depicted using vigorous brush strokes. For the maki-e powder Nakano chose colored platinum powder, the decoration on the surface of the lid in particular testifying to Nakano’s inimitable sense of color. Black has been used extensively on the sides of the box where rabbits frolicking on a moonlit night are depicted using gold lacquer in a scene in which realism and fantasy coexist. The composition in which movement and stillness, and lightness and darkness are contrasted gives rise to an original maki-e world.