Japanese picnic set

Step 5 of 6

For Taste and for Looks

The set has four compartments to contain food. They are each decorated with a different geometric pattern. The patterns have been painstakingly executed, which create feelings of both variety and uniformity at the same time, as well as showcase the craftsman's abilities in such fine detail.

The foods that were often found in these compartments include rice, eggs, seasonal vegetables, pickled vegetables and raw fish. The compartments are stackable and sealed tightly, so that each food item retained its fragrance and arrangement within the boxes. In fact, each food item was carefully and artfully prepared and arranged for the picnics.[Cf]

For example, a rakugo theatre story describes the meals prepared for a cherry blossom viewing picnic, which included various types of pickled daikon radish made to look like omelettes and steamed fish.[Cf]

Interestingly, this focus on arranging foods in a visually pleasant way and experimenting with shapes and ingredients, seems to still exist in Japanese cooking and food preparation in the form of modern bento boxes, especially ones made for children.