The Japanese have made lacquer-ware for at least 7000 years. Fine lacquering is a painstaking process. Artists apply multiple layers of colored or clear, refined sap from the Urushi tree to a base structure, usually of wood, and bring the surface it to a desired finish by repeated polishing. It is also a dangerous process due to the toxicity of the raw Urushi sap which needs to be cured for 3 to 5 years before use. Over the course of the centuries, artisans have developed various specialized decorative techniques such as Maki-e, the sprinkling of gold or silver powder into a clear lacquer layer. Negoro, the mix of black and red lacquers which appears on our box, is another. The 3-drawer box (ca 1920) is unusual for its size, decoration, and purpose. It was meant to serve as a collar box, either for export to the West or for a member of the Japanese elite. The use of shirt collars complied with the Westernization of Japanese men's clothing imposed during the Meiji reformation and continued into the Taisho period through the 1920s. Notwithstanding the evident current of influences, including the Art Deco, this box is deeply Japanese in the asymmetry of its decoration, formality of its proportions and superiority of its craftsmanship. Like most domestic Japanese furniture throughout the country's long history, this box is a practical work of art. Condition: Excellent. Dimensions: 25" x 9" x 9".