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Japanese Boxes, We Like?

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John, that changes my understanding of things then. Thanks.

Regarding the swiveling box (supporting the dragon's head) above, no one said what it was so I'll post something simple instead.

 

Just dusted this off....
銭箱 Zenibako perhaps.江戸時代に商家で使用した、銭を保管するための木箱。箱の上部に投入口があり、下部の取り出し口には錠をつけ、頑丈に作られている。(Used in merchant's premises, a wooden box to keep cash coins. With an insertion slot on the top, and a way to remove the contents below, usually fitted with a lock, they were sturdily built.)
 

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In for a penny, in for a pound. :thumbsup:

 

A box here, in the sense that it is hollow inside, so, an upside-down box? :)

 

These were probably Daimyō Dōgu, part of the 3-part amusement set that a newly-married lady might take to her new household. (盤) 双六、将棋、囲碁 (Ban)Sugoroku (backgammon), Shōgi and I-Go. Sugoroku had to be repeatedly banned in Heian times because it was so popular.

 

I managed over the years to find Edo Period dice, tumbler and pieces. The seven Kamon on the ends of the Dai/Ban are 'right' for Daimyō status, I heard, but have not verified. The zōgan inlay work on the playing surface looks more like bone than ivory, so I guess it is not absolutely top notch. The condition is not great either! :laughing:

Weighs 9.4 kg (No, it's not a car battery.)

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Very interesting boxes, Piers - thanks for sharing! I can see that you are also a box aficionado, as I have been for as long as I can remember. There's just something about a well-made box that I find fascinating. Given the ubiquity, variety and quality of boxes in Japanese culture - and the culture's predilection for making books about any subject imaginable - I would think that there must be books on this particular subject matter, which might contain information such as how to date such objects.

 

Can you explain your statement above - "...that changes my understanding of things then..." with regards to my karabitsu?

 

On another note, though a little off-topic, I thought I would share this interesting little video:

 

https://twitter.com/cctvidiots/status/1243391627525160960?s=20

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Just amazing! Thanks. Wow.

 

I had this theory that karabitsu were used when people did not move around so much. Armour was stored for many seasons unused. The legs held the bottom off the floor and helped move air around the box to prevent water/rot/ mold etc.

 

Then as battles became more frequent, and armies moved constantly, and Tōsei Gusoku armour came into fashion, boxes also needed to be light, slim and easy to carry. Legs added weight, and legged karabitsu could not be stacked.

 

Thus it was that I thought karabitsu went out of fashion long before Edo. Perhaps like Shinshinto though, they were indeed recreated, as a throwback to a golden age??? Or to house ever-popular recreations of Ō-yoroi???

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I had this theory that karabitsu were used when people did not move around so much. Armour was stored for many seasons unused. The legs held the bottom off the floor and helped move air around the box to prevent water/rot/ mold etc.

 

Then as battles became more frequent, and armies moved constantly, and Tōsei Gusoku armour came into fashion, boxes also needed to be light, slim and easy to carry. Legs added weight, and legged karabitsu could not be stacked.

 

Thus it was that I thought karabitsu went out of fashion long before Edo. Perhaps like Shinshinto though, they were indeed recreated, as a throwback to a golden age??? Or to house ever-popular recreations of Ō-yoroi???

I agree with your theory, Piers. I would also add that many karabitsu that one sees today that are very fancy, with makie, inlay, mon, etc., are from the Meiji period and made primarily for decorative purposes. I think that true armour karabitsu (such as those made for o-yoroi) were actually quite simple. The one from the Met is indeed a beautiful example, but I think it was not made for an armour because it's a little too small (it's only 13" tall and I think that's with the legs) for that purpose.

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Here's another interesting box - this time a kabuto bitsu, covered in leather:

 

kceyYd.jpg

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There are some bigger boxes around the house, but since life is in limbo and I have been polishing lacquer, may I just include a large shallow-sided ‘tray’ for placing kimono before and after a bath?

(Photos follow. I may have shown this many years ago on the old This Week's Edo Period thread.)

 

Scratched and battered, but the Mon may be 嵯峨桐紋 Saga Kiri Mon, connected to the Saga Imperial line in Kyoto.

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At a local antiques fair on Sunday, where I found two lengths of gold/red tasseled cord. I fished them out and turned them around thoughtfully in the sunlight.

”You can have those!” said the dealer.

Just to be certain of what I was thinking, I asked him what they were for.

”To tie up a tébako, I guess,” the guy replied.

Well, I thanked him, brought them home and attached them to the rings. What do you reckon?

(Lady’s 手箱 tébako vanity box, c. Momoyama or early Edo. 39 cm x 31 cm, 26 cm high.)

 

 

 

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Piers, Old Bean,

 

すごい

 

I have been waiting to see some examples of Saga Kirimon, ever since Ian B mentioned the form on the old Armour Forum.

 

We are used to seeing Go San Kiri and Shichi Go Kiri, but, do I count Ju - Go Shichi Kiri on the box, and how many on the Tray?

 

https://kamon.myoji-yurai.net/kamonDetail.htm?kamonName=嵯峨桐

 

Sadly these mere trifles have no merit, and I would be prepared to take them off your hands, gratis, providing you arrange for full double box Art Shipping and Insurance at your expense. 🤪

 

Well found, amazing!!

 

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Malcolm, it is my pleasure to provide some amusement of a morning.

As you say they are worth nothing, but maybe they have yet been saved from the dump for a few short extra years.

 

With a bit of a buff-up above, they still carry some historical je ne sais quoi. Thank you for looking. 🙇‍♂️

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The tebako is very interesting indeed. 

 

The choice of angular underlying lattice and symmetrical placement of the Kamon amid the flurry of the flowering tendrils suggests a tacit Western influence to me, so perhaps Momoyama is not such a wild call.

 

Can you take some close ups of the Kamon and lattice please?

 

PS, I've adjusted my gracious original offer of the item sent gratis to me, to an extra 100 Georgian Gold Guineas sent to me in a plain brown paper envelope, behind the third hot water pipe of the Guy Burgess rooms in the Anthony Blunt annexe of Waterloo Station.

 

🧐

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Will do Malcolm. Sadly, if you look too closely at a beauty, you may see her flaws and the ravages of the years upon her. There are areas of quite bad damage to the lacquerwork. (The underside of the lid was protected so the makié there is in good condition.)

 

You may have noticed in post #98 above that I have two of these Tébako. The other is less flashily decorated inside and out, but they both have some commonalities, such as the shu iro basketweave lacquer work and the inomé sukashi designs. That one is awaiting the arrival of suitable tasseled cords.

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" Sadly, if you look too closely at a beauty, you may see her flaws and the ravages of the years upon her."

 

Many years ago, I shot a TV commercial for a Sunday Paper, the Star was certainly in a Dynasty of her own, and timeless.

 

In the corridor, which led from her dressing room to the set, and before I could get my Spotmeter out of its case, she told me in no uncertain terms where she wanted the key light to be exactly.

When she looked at the set, which I had pre lit, the day before, she found that the key light was exactly where she wanted it

 

"You've been talking to Marlene Dietrich haven't you..." she said with a wink of a crystal green eye.

 I just smiled and the rest of the day was delightful.

 

It's the same when appreciating an item like your tebako, just delightful.

 

😎

 

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Morning O.B.

 

Interesting that they both are decorated with Inome 猪目.

 

Is the woven material dry lacquered?

 

Have you seen my son Aladdin?

 

"Cinders, you shall go to the Ball....!"

 

That's enough of the Pantomime references. 🤪

 

Elegant items.

 

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Re the woven material, I think it is a kind of cheese cloth, (normally a hidden part of the lacquering layer process), which has its own beauty if left semi-exposed... no? 

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That's what I wondered, a base coat or coats of Urushi and the Fabric stretched and patted so that the lacquer bonds with the fibres during the curing.

 

A bit like resin and fibreglass sheet.

 

Arguably it makes for a robust surface and strengthens the body of the box, where leading edges of lacquer would otherwise be prone to abrasion and potential cracking etc.

 

Well Puss, how far is it to Old London Town?

 

(Note to Self, you can stop channelling your inner Arthur Askey..........) 

 

 

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These Tebako usually have a fairly deep inner tray supported by the edges of the box body, giving two levels inside.

 

PS Ignore the white silk cords which I took off another box for the photo session.

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