Studio: international art — 36.1906

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1 cm
Japanese Lacquer Drawings

DUTCH bedstead (In the Gewerbe-Museum, Briinn

.richness. In 1686, when the ambassadors from
Siam came to France to do homage for their
sovereign to the Grand Monarch, they were taken
to the garde-meuble and saw there, as we are told
by “ Le Mercure,” “ sixty very magnificent beds.”
There were beds from Persia, Turkey, Portugal,
and other countries; the lit du sacre, with two
envers of broderie, which was estimated at
600,000 francs, and the one called “ la reine
Marguerite.” The woodwork of many of these
beds was sculptured by Proux, Caffieri, and La

In the course of centuries the cradle has gone
through as many variations as the bed, from the
primitive one of bulrushes to the costly inventions
of later times. The simple cradles of the early
centuries were hollowed out of the trunks of trees.
The rude “ mangers ” one sees in the Tyrol, which
.are made of stone and have a place in the

churches, are shaped like
horse-troughs. This simple
form developed in course of
time into the “Repos de
Jesus,” examples of which are
tcvbe seen in the museums at
Cologne, Treves, Utrecht, and
some few other places. The
one reproduced on page 135
is nowin the Figdor Collection.
It is a marvel of beautiful work-
manship and is wonderfully
preserved, the polychromes
having suffered but little from
the hand of time. It originally
belonged to the “ Grand Be-
guinage ” at Louvain. Beauti-
ful cradles were also made for
everyday use in the Middle
Ages. The one shown on
page 136 is of walnut-wood,
and bears the monogram of
Henry II. of France and Diana
of Poitiers. The cradle proper
has rockers; and the child,
after having been carefully
wrapped in his swaddling
clothes, was fastened in the
berceau by ribbon-bands.
'These latter have disappeared
on the Continent, but, alas !
not the swaddling-clothes.

Cradles were also made of
silver and of gold. An ex-
tremely beautiful example of
this kind is in the Imperial Treasury. It is that
which was presented by the nation to Napoleon’s
son, afterwards the Duke of Reichstadt, and it can
scarcely be equalled in beauty of design and work-
manship. Of the bedsteads and cradles of the
peasants I shall have something to say on a future
occasion. This time I have only dealt with those
found in the homes of the more fortunate classes.

A. S. Levetus.

Studies in Japanese art:


The lacquer-work of Japan deservedly ranks as
one of the finest of its arts. As compared with the
lacquer of other Oriental nat ons, it is of immense
superiority, not only in regard to its technical
qualities, but also in the beauty of its designs and
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