Cosmetic Utensils

Decorative Motifs of Cosmetic Accessories – To Decorate, to Celebrate, and to Desire

Mar. 17(Sat), - Jul. 16(Mon), 2018

For elite Japanese women of the Edo period (17th to mid 19th century), make-up and hairdressing were important daily activities, sometimes even for ceremonial purposes. Many of the cosmetic accessories were adorned with family crests or decorative motifs, such as plants. These motifs impart a sense of sumptuousness to the items, while at times also alluding to legends and tales, in which a desire for the user’s happiness was implicit.
This display presents Japanese cosmetic accessories decorated with a variety of designs, mostly from the Edo period. We hope you enjoy the splendid cosmetic utensils that embellished the everyday life of women.


Mirror case with handle and design of pine, bamboo and plum in maki-e lacguer, Second half of the Edo period


Three-tiered container for face-powder with peony design, Late Edo-Meiji period


Dressing table with a design of arrowhead plants and flowing water in maki-e lacguer, Second half of the Edo period