Apartment House Communal Rooms for Werkbund Exhibition, Paris, 1930.
Interior perspective, view of bar from pool.
Ink, wash, and gouache over graphite on paper 55.3 x 48.2cm.
A finely-lacquered suzuribako (writing box) and cover by Shibata Zeshin. 19th century, Japan. This writing box is decorated with motifs associated with the Five Seasonal Festivals. The exterior of the lid depicts a silk winder (itomaki) and chrysanthemums, which are emblems for the Tanabata Festival in the seventh month. This celebrates the one day of the year when, according to an early Chinese legend, a Herd boy and Weaving Girl are permitted to meet. Two paper dolls (kamibina) allude to the Girls’ Festival on the third day of the New Year whilst a bunch of long leaves and a display of a helmet, mask and sword portrayed on the inside of the lid, represents the Boys’ Festival, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month. The five main festivals and their associated images provided artists such as Zeshin with numerous commissions, as it was traditional to hang paintings and display boxes in the recesses within Japanese homes.