The exterior of the box is finished in the Negoro Nuri style of Japanese lacquer ware. The hardware is authentic Edo period and dates from the late 1700s. The gold disc holds my Japanese art name, Shiranami, or White Wave, the name of the boat my father had built when we lived in Japan.
Yamanaka Kikanosuke Yukimori (16th century) was one of the Ten Heroes of the Amako Clan in Isumo Province. The block print on the left is from the Yoshitoshi series, 100 Aspects of the Moon. On the right is a block print by Kawase Hasui and it is this sense of sharp moonlight I have tried to capture in the scene. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to photograph. Incidentally, this scene is on Miyajima Island, not far from where I lived as a boy growing up in Japan.
The figure is the only commercial piece in the scene. It is 90mm high and from Peagso. I modified the helmet and spear to more closely resemble those of the Yoshitoshi samurai. While I have been building models for many years, I am still pretty new to painting figures, so this was a challenge.
The plants and mushrooms are a mix of paper and various "botanical debris" gathered in my garden. Paper plants never need watering!
I created the iron lantern by carving wooden forms and then vac-u-forming them using the Mattel Vac-U-Form I got for Christmas in 1965! The decorative bits are made from copper wire hammered out to resemble iron "leaves." The row of lanterns in front of the red wall were inspired by those I saw as a boy at the Tokugawa shrine at Nikko. These are all carved wood, painted with gesso and then many glazes. I really had a blast making the temple walls and roof. I hadn't worked with anything electrical in decades and this was all new technology for me. It was when I realised I could adjust the level of each of the LEDs that my imagination went crazy and things really came together.
This project began as a vignette and only later morphed into a box diorama. Hence, the original steps are still in place. I may yet add another figure running up these steps to join in the defense. He will be holding a lighted torch but will otherwise hardly be seen. I'll get back to you on this.