Shikishibako (box for squarish poem papers), with slightly convex kabusebuta (overhanging lid) and rounded corners, the exterior decorated in gold hiramaki-e on a polished black-lacquer ground with leaves and flowers...
Shikishibako (box for squarish poem papers), with slightly convex kabusebuta (overhanging lid) and rounded corners, the exterior decorated in gold hiramaki-e on a polished black-lacquer ground with leaves and flowers of omodaka (three-leaf arrowhead or water plantain, Sagittaria trifolia) and other summer water plants, overlaid in shell with characters from a waka (33-syllable classical verse)
Comes with a fitted black-lacquered wood tomobako box inscribed in red lacquer "Box for poem paper with design from a Teika poem" and signed Katei saku, with gold-lacquer seal Kōda Katei
The line of verse inlaid in shell on this box reads Tsuki yadoru ran and comes from a poem not by Fujiwara Teika (also known as Sadaie, 1162–1241) as suggested by the box inscription, but by another poet of the period, Kiyohara no Fukayabu. The poem features in several anthologies and is number 36 in Hyakunin isshu (100 Poems by 100 Poets) which was compiled by Teika; this may account for its misattribution here. It reads in full as follows:
Natsu no yo wa / mada yoi nagara / akenuru o / kumo no izuko ni / tsuki yadoru ran (Now the summer night / Blanches before eve is done / Into the white of dawn: / Where among the brightening clouds / Has the moon gone to rest?)
(translation by Edwin Cranston, from A Waka Anthology: Volume Two, Grasses of Remembrance, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 2006, p. p. 590)
Kōda Katei was the younger brother of the prominent Kyoto lacquerer Kōda Shūetsu (1881–1933); the semi-abstract treatment of plant motifs on the present box reflects the transformation of traditional lacquer design that took place in the city during the early years of the 20th century under the influence of the painter Asai Chū (1856–1907).