Suzuribako (case containing ink stone and other materials) (硯箱)

Suzuribako means a box that is used for keeping suzuri (ink stone) and other articles.

A writing brush, ink, water, a short sword, a ruler and a calendar are sometimes kept in it together with suzuri.

There are three kinds of suzuribako, namely hira-suzuribako (flat suzuribako), ju-suzuribako (multitier suzuribako) and asa-suzuribako (shallow suzuribako). Some products are decorated with nashiji (lacquer ware with a flecked effect), makie (Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder), raden (mother-of pearl inlay work) and/or byokin (Chinese name of makie), and first-class products are extremely beautiful.

Suzuribako and fumidai (a writing desk) were sometimes produced in sets.

Funabashi suzuribako produced by Koetsu HONAMI, which was produced independently, is the most luxurious one that has komori kabusebuta (overlapping lid whose central part is raised) and makie-byokin decoration.

There used to be a practice under which a person showed a certain article to other persons by putting it on suzuribako or its lid.

There is a description in 'Utsuho monogatari' (The Tale of Utsuho) saying 'When Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) requested paper, someone handed a piece of yellowish paper and a piece of white paper by putting them on the lid of suzuribako.'

Famous suzuribako
Funabashi makie suzuribako: Japanese national treasure
Yatsuhashi makie raden suzuribako: Japanese national treasure
Kocho makie kake suzuribako: Japanese national treasure

[Original Japanese]