Skip Navigation


Asian Art

Colonial inventories list a variety of specialized containers in estrados. Such coveted pieces were often manufactured with valuable materials such as silver, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, or precious woods; covered in velvet or embossed leather; lacquered or painted; and accompanied with silver or gilt-iron hardware. In Spanish American homes, these containers served as jewel boxes and coffers, small writing desks (on view elsewhere in this exhibition), sewing boxes, and receptacles for playing cards, domino tiles, chips, dice, and other gaming pieces.

Native-made coffers finished in a traditional, labor-intensive lacquer technique called barniz de Pasto were particularly prized, along with lacquer caskets and writing desks made in Asia and exported in galleons from Manila to Spain and her overseas territories.


Los inventarios coloniales enumeran una gran variedad de cajas, baúles y cofres en los estrados. Tales piezas a menudo eran fabricadas con materiales valiosos como plata, carey, nácar o maderas preciosas; otras veces estaban recubiertas en terciopelo o cuero repujado, o bien acabadas en laca o pintura; algunas veces tenían herrajes de plata o de hierro sobredorado. En las casas hispanoamericanas, estos pequeños muebles servían como joyeros y cofres, escritorios (incluidos en otra sección de la exposición), costureros y estuches para naipes, piezas de dominó, fichas, dados y otros artículos de juego.

En este contexto, junto a los objetos de laca y a los escritorios hechos en Asia y exportados en galeones desde Manila a España y sus territorios de ultramar, los cofres de hechura local acabados con barniz de Pasto, la laboriosa técnica tradicional de lacado, eran especialmente apreciados.

MEDIUM Wood, ray skin, lacquer, mother-of-pearl, brass
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES late 16th century
    PERIOD Momoyama Period
    DIMENSIONS 9 1/16 x 14 7/16 x 7 9/16 in. (23 x 36.7 x 19.2 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 2004.28.192
    CREDIT LINE The Peggy N. and Roger G. Gerry Collection
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Trunk, late 16th century. Wood, ray skin, lacquer, mother-of-pearl, brass, 9 1/16 x 14 7/16 x 7 9/16 in. (23 x 36.7 x 19.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, The Peggy N. and Roger G. Gerry Collection, 2004.28.192. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2004.28.192_PS4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 2004.28.192_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.