Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

four-legged urn
  • Japan
  • four-legged urn, circa 1880, Meiji period (1868–1912)
  • Where object was made: Japan
  • Shibayama lacquer, silver, gold, enamel, mother-of-pearl, coral
  • Object Height/Width/Length: 6 3/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 3/4 in w. lid/ wo. handles
    Object Height/Width/Length: 16.3 x 12.1 x 9.5 cm w. lid/wo. handles
  • William Bridges Thayer Memorial
  • Not on display
  • 1929.0012.a,b
Label Text

Lacquer casket with a lid. The body has a floral and leaf design. The lid has a design of two birds inlaid in ivory.

The object is a hollow box supported on four tall round legs with a truncated pyramidal lid and two handles. The box and lid are decorated inside and out in the "makie" technique. The exterior surfaces are gold in color while the interior surfaces are red in color. In addition, mother of pearl, shell, and lacquer applied decorative elements in the form of birds and flowers are attached to the lid and the sides of the casket. The finial on the lid is a raised grouping of flowers. The two handle son the sides of the casket are made of silver inlaid with enamel. They are attached to the casket with two screws with decorative heads from the interior of the casket. The screws are threaded through metal inserts in the sides of the casket. The metal from which the handles are made, silver, and the powder in the lacquer, gold, were identified by x-ray fluorescence.