Lunch Basket Made of Gilded Ornamental Leather (with Lunchbox) 金唐革弁当籠(弁当箱付)

The custom of merrily eating and drinking beneath the cherry trees has been enjoyed since the early Edo period. Initially, it was mainly noblemen and samurai who engaged in that cheerful practice. In the mid-Edo period, however, with cherry trees being planted in accessible places such as the Asukayama and Gotenyama hills in Edo, the custom spread among the common people as well. The lunch basket behind the lunchbox in this photograph was carried to outdoor events, plays, and other occasions for picnics. It was designed to hold the three-tiered lunchbox shown in front of it. The basket was woven of lightweight bamboo and has gilded, ornamental leather, with its golden glow, applied to its exterior. The leather has been embossed with scale-shaped stamps in a mesh-like pattern and has applied flower bud motifs. Such gilded ornamental leather was an import, brought to Japan by the Dutch East India Company. Produced in Europe from the fourteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, it was mainly used there as a wall covering. In Japan, however, this lovely leather was made into tobacco pouches, small cases for holding accessories, and other everyday items and became very popular among the people of Edo, with their love of everything tasteful and chic.
Collection of
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Lunch Basket Made of Gilded Ornamental Leather (with Lunchbox)
Collection ID
Creation Date
19cm x 13.1cm x 8.4cm
Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives

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