This is a beautiful lacquerware inkwell, most likely made in China for export in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It has a black background, with a different scene delicately painted on each side. The lift off lid also has a scene, with a figure playing a flute and what appears to be a young girl in the back ground. A small mother-of-pearl chip and what looks like an agate chip are glued as rocks into the scene. The “rocks” and varying thickness of the paint used gives the images a nice three dimensional effect.
The insert is milk glass. It is stuck tightly into the inkwell; we have not tried to force it out. Based on glue residue, we believe there once was a piece of felt glued to the base.
SIZE: This inkwell is 3 1/8” square, and about 2 1/2” high.
CONDITION: There are a few spots where the lacquer has chipped. Most noticeable is one top corner, and the top edge on one side. On that same side, the lacquer is raised in the center going down to the bottom and has lifted at the bottom from the wood. There are a couple of raised spots on the lid as well, although this could have been done purposefully for the three dimensional effect. It appears to have been used as there is some ink staining the top under the lid, as well as ink stains on the insert.
Overall, this inkwell is in very nice condition for its age. It’s a beautiful piece.