A 17th-century feudal lord, known as a daimyo, kept this chest for storing precious objects. The surface features scenes of Japan’s Lake Biwa, located just northeast of the former capitol of Kyoto in present-day Shiga Prefecture. The scenes had been made famous centuries earlier, when poets began to describe locations around the lake. Artists responded to the poems by interpreting the lines that described in the poetry. Yamamoto Shunshō, the artist who made this chest drew on such famous images to decorate the surface, using a variety of lacquer techniques, a time-intensive, painstaking process.
This year marks LACMA's 50th anniversary. We're celebrating all that we've done while looking forward to what's in store for us in the next 50. Check back every week on Unframed to find a highlight of an artwork from LACMA's collection, which features over 120,000 objects that span time, the globe, and all cultures. This is 16/50 of the series.