Japanese picnic set

Japanese picnic set

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This object is a Japanese picnic set dated to the Edo Period (1603-1868). It is made of lacquered wood and is decorated with fans, chrysanthemums and flowing water.

The set includes four overlapping compartments to contain food, as well as a display platter and a bottle for rice wine. Each of these elements fits perfectly into the structure which, thanks to the handle, can be carried easily. This kind of set was used to carry food and drinks to be consumed and shared during picnics in beautiful natural settings by members of the urban merchant class.

Object views

Stories

  • A Picnic in the Floating World

    story by Francesca Gammino

    Japanese picnic sets such as this one were used by the towns’ merchant class (chōnin) for picnics to enjoy a shared meal in a natural location. This object tells us stories of enjoying the beauty of the autumn season and its characteristic flowers, while at the same time expressing the chōnin’s longing for fun and ephemeral pleasure, and the desire for an escape from urban worklife and responsibilities.

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