Exceptionally beautiful Japanese lacquer box with a small doll, mame (pea sized) Ichimatsu nigyo (doll) inside - she actually is 4 ½” tall. This must have been some girl's (or woman’s) treasure box years ago. It may have been a gift from her mother or grandmother. The lacquer box is decorated with auspicious designs; a long tailed turtle emerging from a stream, pine, bamboo and rocks on the bank with a crane flying above. The combination of pines, bamboos and plums (painted in inside) together is called sho-chiku-bai which is the most auspicious sign of all in Japan. The combination of crane and turtle symbolize the wishing for the well being and long life of the family.
The decoration on the box is done in tones of gold with some silver on a roiro ground, the rocks in takamakie (raised gold) with kirikane (square gold foil) inlay, nashiji (pear skin) interior, silver rings (tarnished) and mounts. Inside metal caps are also silver. There is a small damage on the left corner bottom (shown in the photo), a small chip in the opening of lid (shown in photo) and very small hairline on the top left corner side of the lid (hardly visible).
The doll is almost in perfect shape except that the hair on one side on the back is almost missing. Her kimono shows slightly more age. It looks older than shown in the photos, inside her mouth is hallow and shows her teeth, characteristic that are seen in Meiji to Taisho dolls. The writing on the outer wood box is "Kyo (Kyoto) Ningyo (doll)." The lacquer box is light and has the feel of quality wood inside. Meiji to Taisho period, early 1900s. The measurements of the lacquer box are 9 1/2" x 3 5/8" x 2", the doll is 4 1/2" toll.