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Asian Art

Nobleman’s Meal Table (Kakeban)

ca. 14th–15th century

Red and black lacquer on wood (Negoro ware)

6 9/16 × 12 13/16 × 12 1/4 in. (16.6 × 32.5 × 31.1 cm)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund
Devoid of any surface designs and covered only with thick layers of red and black lacquer, this table is an example of Negoro ware, named after the Negoroji Temple in present-day Wakayama Prefecture, where fourteenth-century Buddhist priests of the Shingon sect began producing sturdy, utilitarian lacquerware for daily use. The graceful form of the table, with its curved legs and scalloped edges, masks its functional purpose. The vermilion red surface is worn with use, revealing the black lacquer underneath. Such well-worn rustic objects were prized by sixteenth-century tea masters and represent a long-standing Japanese aesthetic.
Muromachi period (1336–1573)

Narita Collection, Japan; James Freeman, Kyoto, Japan


Saburo Mizoguchi and Hirokazu Arakawa, eds., Negoro (Atami, Japan: Atami Bijutsukan, 1966), pl. 29.

Tokubetsuten: Negoro no bi, exh. cat. (Nara, Japan: Nara kenritsu bijutsuken, 1975), pl. 17.

Sadamu Kawada, Negoro (Kyoto: Shikosha, 1985), pl. 36.

Shuurushi : “Negoro”, sono yo to bi, exh. cat. (Sakai, Japan: Sakai-shi Hakubutsukan, 1986), pl. 35.

Negoro: sono katachi to iro, exh. cat. (Wajima, Japan: Ishikawa-ken Wajima Shitsugei Bijutsukan, 1998), pl. 11.

Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 152, 377, pl. 138.

Sadako Ohki, “Japanese Art at Yale,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 42.

Ive Aaslid Covaci, “Japanese Lacquer in the Yale University Art Gallery Collection: ‘Nobleman’s Meal Table and Kodaiji Maki-e’,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 133–34, fig. 1.

Sadako Ohki and Takeshi Watanabe, Tea Culture of Japan (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 85, no. 14, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.