1. A jolly parade
Purple is a very classy colour in Japan. Wrapping something in fine cloth makes it look nice and neat. But it may also look cheerful. This wrapping cloth, furoshiki, depicts children in a procession that is usually for grown-ups. You are supposed to walk behind each other, but these kids are all over the place!
Japan; 1950-1984; cotton, pigments; RV-B228-12
2. Fancy that!
You can use this shiny box for fancy snacks. Luxurious gifts need luxurious packaging. This box was wrapped in a silk bag that was specially made to be just the right size. And the whole thing was inside a wooden box. It was a very expensive gift from the Japanese government to an important person in the Netherlands.
Katori Hotsuma (1874-1954); Japan; around 1930; cast silver; donation of the Dutch-Japanese Association (NJV), 2019; 7187-1
3. Look what I’ve got for you
When you give somebody something, you want it to look nice. In the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, people make a basket from palm leaves. It’s all green and shiny, just right to put food in. And everyone can see the present, which is very important there.
Solomon Islands; 20th century; palm leaf; TM-3468-214
This looks like a Chinese painting that you have to unroll. But there’s a surprise inside! The painting is rolled around a tube (on the left). Inside the tube are four tins of tea. So it’s a surprise package, a bit like the ‘surprises’ people make in the Netherlands and Belgium for the feast of Saint Nicholas.
China; 1750-1800; paper, pigments, tin, silk; RV-360-516 (picture is reproduction)