The decoration of this suzuribako writing box refers to a fairy tale about an old man who goes out to cut ﬁrewood when he sees a wounded sparrow and takes it home to care for it. Here the lacquer artist recreated the narration in lacquer format: the round central medallion depicts the wood-carrying backpack of the old man and his large wood-cutting ax; the bamboo around the edges of the box cover refer to a bamboo grove, the splendid homeland of the sparrows. Upon opening the cover, thus entering the bamboo grove, one is met by a large reception party of sparrows, ﬂying on the inside of the cover, announcing the arrival into the land of the sparrows. The water pourer in the shape of four bamboo leaves connects the sparrows back to the outside bamboo theme.
As for the lacquer techniques used, the circular panel on top is decorated in takamaki-e high-relief gold lacquer in various hues on a kinji brightly polished gold and silver lacquer ground. The top and all eight sides are decorated with a bamboo motif, likewise executed in takamaki-e raised gold lacquer with inlaid pieces of kirigane gold foil on a ﬁne nashiji gold-ﬂake ground. The rocks have individually cut and inlaid kirigane gold-foil pieces in many different shapes, and the waves are created in hiramaki-e lacquer. The multitude of ﬂying sparrows inside the cover are made in takamaki-e high-relief gold, silver and black lacquer with minute feather details on a ﬁne nashiji ground. The original suzuri ink stone is lacquered with gold powder and nashiji.
The writing box comes with a fitted lacquered kiri-wood storage box inscribed on the inside: "Suzuribako by Dōho. The Maeda clan gave this to their samurai doctor, who then gave it to the Tanimura family, who gave it to the present Miyamoto family." According to the inscription, the box originated in the Maeda clan, for centuries the powerful daimyō of Kaga province. The Igarashi family of lacquer masters (with the names Dōho I, Dōho II, Dōho III, and their followers) worked as lacquerers for the daimyō, creating objects for his personal use and for gift-giving. This special relationship between the Igarashi atelier and the Maeda daimyō lasted for much of the Edo period.