This is an highly unusual larger style, superbly understated, portable suzuribako or writing cabinet executed in black lacquer (kuro nuri) over wood and very tastefully shod with silver hardware. The outer case, measuring 8 1/8" deep x 13" in width x 14 1/8" in height has sukashi (pierced) circular openings both front and rear that intimate the moon in its full phase. But, also in a more practical sense, allows access to remove the inner storage box. By depressing the button on the silver lock plate, the front panel falls forward to be lifted free of the body, thus exposing the inner storage area, which is comprised of three upper drawers and one lower five-drawer case for paper.
Each of the drawers is fitted with silver pulls with seppa (washers) emulative of chrysanthemum blossoms. The upper drawer, measuring 5/8" in height x 7 3/8" in depth x 12 3/16" in width, would house brushes while the lower two drawers, measuring 5/8" in height x 6" in width x 7 3/8" in depth, keep ink and ink stone. The drawer containing the ink stone also contains a recess for the suiteki (water dropper) to mix the ink.
This suiteki is truly a delightful little jewel. It is presented as a pine cone of suaka (pumpkin colored copper) with very accurate detail and sits in a form fit recessed copper cup accented with two foliated seppa, one in shakudo (black copper alloy) and
the other in silver or possibly shiro-shibuichi (silver/copper alloy). Both ink stone and suiteki are recessed into a separate lacquered base that is meant to be removed from the drawer for placement on a desktop. The lower five-drawer case measures 7" in width x 11 5/8" in length x 10 1/4" in height. Four of the drawers are 1 3/8" deep with the fifth being slightly deeper at
2 3/4". This inner storage would be for rolls of paper and other sundries. No hardware is needed as removal of the drawers is by pushing them from either open end of the case.
The outer case is fitted with a finely appointed and functional silver handle located on the case’s top center surface. Writing cabinets of this elegance and proportion are not often encountered intact. The condition of the polished lacquer is very good with some chipping as is consistent with age and there is a split area above the circular opening on the backside of the case. The lower right side of the outer cabinet is missing the floor plate (see image), though there is no structural damage. Period of manufacture is probably between post Meiji and Taisho Era: late 1890- early 1900.