Excellent tea caddy (natsume) made by the 7th Ippyōsai, Ippyō Eizō (*1942). The exterior is finished in polished jet black lacquer (roiro) and decorated in gold maki-e with an all-over pattern over maple leaves and cherry blossoms. the cherry blossoms are in gold and red lacquer. The maple leaves are outlined in gold maki-e with fine veins. However, some of the maple leaves seem to be greener than the others. Here, Ippyōsai has used a special alloy from gold and silver, which is called aokin ('green gold'). Interior and the base are silver coated. Rims are in gold lacquer.
Ippyō Eizō has been the 7th generation of one of the leading lacquer master families in Kyōto. He has studied under his father, Ippyōsai VI (1908-2001), and Shimizuya Kōmin. He is known for his excellent composition on the limited space of a natsume tea caddy. His workshop is now headed by the 8th Ippyōsai, Ippyō Ryō 一瓢良.
The wooden box, made of paulownia wood (kiri), is signed underneath: Makie-shi Ippyōsai 蒔絵師 一瓢斉 and sealed Ippyōsai . Inside the box's lid is an appraisal by the 15th head (iemoto) of the Urasenke tea ceremony school, Hōunsai (*1923): Unkin hira-natsume, Konichi. He also wrote his kaō in red lacquer in the inside of the tea caddy's lid.