Late 17th century
The fully equipped and working palanquin in black lacquer ground decorated in gold hiramaki-e, metal and tissue
H. 23 x L. 25.8 x D. 18.6 cm
Yoke L. 68 cm
A rare model of a Japanese palanquin, norimono. Another one is in the Ethnographic Collection of the National Museum of Denmark and one in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Brest. Between 1641 and 1858 the Dutch were the only Westerns allowed in Japan. Like the local Japanese rulers, the Dutch had to make a yearly voyage from their settlement in the bay of Nagasaki to the court of the Shogun in Edo (Tokyo) to pay their respect and bring presents from the West. This was the only time in the year the Dutch were allowed off their small island Deshima. They travelled in norimono like this model one carried by four men. Sometimes a hole was made in the foot-end of the palanquin allowing the Dutchmen to stretch their legs. The Japanese thought the Dutch could not bend their knees and therefore sat on chairs. These models were presented during the hina matsuri, the dolls festival, as the vehicle of a lord’s spouse.