Tebako Boxes of the Kamakura Period
The Kamakura period (1192-1333) saw the accomplishment of the three fundamental techniques of togidashi maki-e (polished-out maki-e), hiramaki-e (low relief maki-e), and takamaki-e (high relief maki-e), owing to technological advances in the manufacture of maki-e powder. In particular, the development of marufun (lit. round powder) resulted in the development of an intensely shiny gold ground known as kin ikakeji. Many masterpieces of large tebako (boxes for cosmetic accessories or other personal belongings), along with their contents, have survived from this period.
One of the characteristics of maki-e in the Kamakura period is uta-e (lit. poem-picture) based on Japanese and Chinese poetry. Key characters are skillfully hidden in the design, thereby helping the viewer to identify which Japanese or Chinese poem is being alluded to. By contrast, some works are decorated with yūsoku (aristocratic) patterns or scattered geometric patterns, revealing a new predisposition towards designs using an assortment of motifs with certain regularity.