Drum-shaped kōgō



Incense box in drum-shaped with a design of dragon
Inrō-buta-zukuri type
Gold and silver maki-e
D.: 8,5cm – H.: 4,2 cm
Edo period, 18th century

An imposing dragon is painted on the cover, curling itself up as a ring. It is interesting that its black eye is posed almost in the centre of the cover. As if it tells the viewers; “I am the centre of the world and always watching you.”
The dragon in Asia is a legendary and deified creature which originated in China where it’s a symbol of the Emperor. The dragon in Europe is sometimes considered evil.
The dragon is lacquered with a technique of taka-maki-e of gold, silver and red lacquer on golden kin-fudame. The part of a shell of the drum is lacquered with a technique of mokume of gold and silver imitating the veins of wood. Its gradation is exquisite. Silver rivets represent the nails fixing the skin of the drum. The interior and the lower part of the bow are in nashiji.
There are very similar boxes in the collection of Marie-Antoinette kept in musée Guimet Museum and in Versailles and Trianon Castles National Museum.