Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Barber's Equipment Box (dabako)
Approx. 1 800, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture H.4 1/2,W.7 1/2,D.4 in. (11, 19, 10 cm)
Maple, copper fittings,fuki-urushi(wiped) lacquerKawai Kanjiro's House
This is a barber's equipment box dating to the Edo period (1603-1867). These were called dabako in the Kansairegion in the west and bindarai in the eastern Kanto region.
The example shown here is from the KanSai region, and itis easy to differentiate between the two types.
Those from the Kanto region have a funnel-shaped comb holder fitted on the top,
Barbers would use them to carry their combs,scissors, razors, and other equipment when they would visitclients at their 1homes. The 1110Iley for purchasing these boxeswas sometimes do11ated by customers a11d the more rich clientthe barber had, the more elegant and gorgeous boxes they wereable to possess. T11is example uses maple finishedin fuki-urushi (wiped lacquer), and the inside of the lid is lacqueredin red while the inside of the drawers is black. Theiron Straps reinforcing the box take the shape of bamboo,creating a most interesting design.
Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Informal ornamental shaves(kazari-dana)

Sixteenth century

H.24,W.30,D.14 in.(61,77,37 cm.)

Mulberry,clear lacquer

Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Informal ornamental shaves(kazaridana)

Eary eighteenth century
H.30,W.30,D.15 in(76,76,37cm) mulberry,rosewood,fuki-urushi lacquer

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Room Cabinet (heya-dansu)
Approx. 1900, Izumo, Shimane Prefecture
H. 66,W.73,D. 27V2in. (168, 185,70cm)
Zelkova, patinated iron fittings,fuki-urushi (wiped) lacquerIzumo Folk Crafts Museum
This tansu would have stood in the sitting room, where it would store valuables, documents, and various miscellaneous items. It belonged in the home of a large landowner in the Izumo region. Being very large in size, it is of chest-on-chest design in order to make it easier to move. The top section contains two shelves, while the drawers in the lower section are fitted with locks in order to store valuables. This cabinet is of a practical, plain design, but the zelkova wood used in the sliding doors of the top section is very beautiful. In addition to zelkova, it also uses cryptomeria for the sides.The front of the case, the frames of the doors, and the shelves have been finished in black lacquer.
 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-
Room Cabinet (cha-dansu)

1884, Kuwana, Mie Prefecture H. 68 1/2,W. 67,D. 24 in. (174, 170,60 cm) Zelkova and cherry, copper fittings, kijiro-nuri 1acquer Private collection
A chest-on-chest construction, the upper section has sliding doors while the lower section is divided into two, the left side containing four drawers and the right side two drawers with sliding doors fitted between them. The framework is of zelkova that has been finished in purplish brown kijiro-nuri lacquer. The metal fittings, including the hirute (leech) type drawer pulls and the finger holds on the sliding doors, are extremely beautiful. Wheels have been attached to the four corners of the base for mobility. There is an inscription on the rear stating that it was produced in 1884 in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Ledger Chest (cho-dansu)

Approx. 1 900, Aizu, Fukushima PrefectureH. 361/2,W. 331/2,D. 17in. (93, 85,43 cm)Zelkova, patinated iron fittings ,fuki-urushj (wiped) lacquerPrivate collectionThis is a very ordinary ledger chest from the Aizu region. Aizuwakamatsu was a castletown, so the designs of the tansu produced there tend to reflect the conservative, reserved tastes of the inhabitants. The drawers have been positioned in a well-balanced layout, while the floral-shaped metal fittings attached to the cornersof the drawers are the same as those seen on old tansu from Sado. The same style was also prop duceduced in Akita, Sakata, Yonezawa, and Nagaoka,all of which had sea routes to Sado. This design doubtless originated there.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

Informal ornamental shaves(kazaridana)

Eary eighteenth century

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Strongbox (zenibako)

Approx. 1800, Matsumoto, Nagano PrefectureH.4 l/2,W.7 I/2,D.4in. (11, l9. 10 cm)Cryptomeria, patinated iron fittings,fuki-urushi (wiped) lacquerJapan Folk Crafts Museum
This is a simple strong box consisting of a rectangular  box with a lid. Made of cryptomeria and finished in fuki-urushi (wiped lacquer), it is only 4 1/2 inches (11 cm), tall,but it appears to be much larger than it is due to the thick boards and large studs used in its construction. It presents a powerful, compact form and was probably made for personal use..

Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

Staircase Chest (kaidan-dansu)

Late nineteenth century, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Zelkova, patinated iron fittings,Juki-urushi (wiped) lacquerPrivate collection

This is a seven-step kaidan-dansu (staircase chest), consisting of a square tansu with one three-step cabinet placed in front and one top. All the various shapes presented by this form have been cleverly utilized for storage. The horizontal slats on the doors, the rectangular shape of the drawers, and the curves of the drawer pulls combine to create a beautifully balanced form, design-wise. In particular, the vertical column of three small drawers is most interesting. The lockplates are of the kinchaku (purse) shape and the escutcheons of the drawer pulls are of eyo-kurigata (curved abstracts) openwork, characteristic of furniture produced in the Matsumoto area of Nagano Prefecture. Overall, its solid construction is typical of the work produced there.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

Strongbox (zenibako)

Approx. 1880  H. 14,W. 11,D. 15 1/2in.(35,2B,39cm)  Magnolia, brass fittings, shunkei-nuri 1acquer Private collection
Although the exterior design is plain, the doors at the front open to reveal a most decorative strongbox. There is a small slot on the top right edge to insert coins. The exte1-ior and the faces of the drawers are of magnolia, but the
interior is made of paulownia. There is a single, deep drawer on the upper left with two shallow drawers next to it on the right, the upper of which caught the inserted coins. Although the metalwork design is flamboyant, the lack of locks make it appeal- that this chest was not used for storage but was located in a shop to hold the day's takings. The way in which the brass fittings, with a pieced cloud design, have been applied to the face of the wood is a design rarely seen in Japan.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

Strongbox (zenibako) 

Approx. 1800,H.8,W. 8,D. 14 1/2in. (20,21, 37cm)Zelkova,patinated iron fittings,fuki-urushi (wiped) lacquerEhime Folk Crafts Museum
This strongbox would have stood in a merchant's shop  where it held the daily takings. Half of the upper surfaceis fixed in place with a hole in it to insert the coins,while the other half swings upward. The hole for the coinsis surrounded by a decorative metal fitting in the shape of aflower, while the shape of the knob on the lid is multifaceted, exhibiting great taste. The interior is hollow so it wouldhave held a great deal of cash.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

Tea Chest (cha-dansu)

Late nineteenth century, Takehara,Hiroshima PrefectureH.42,W. 53,D. 14 in. (93, 82, 36cm)Mulberry,copperfittings,fukj-urushi (wiped) 1acquelPrivatecollection
This is a conventionally shaped clla-dan5u (tea Chest). This type of chest was used to hold tea and had nothing to do with the tea ceremony.There are sliding doors at the top, with small drawers, staggered shelves, and a kendon-buta (drop-fit door) in the center, and a large drawer at the bottom.The area behind the sliding doors is used to store teapots, cups, and other items, and the a1-ea behind the kendon-buta is used to hold tall tea caddies a11d cake containers. The drawers hold plates for cakes, teacup stands, chopsticks, dishcloths, and spare teacups. Tile drawers that are fitted with locks were probably used to store valuable items. The cha-dansu is normally placed in the living room where only close friends al-e invited, so it is important that it be of modest design but with a certain amount of decoration. The exterior is made of mulberry, the interior of paulownia, and the drawer knobs of Siam rosewood. The hanging tab on the kendol7-buta is in the shape of a fish, and the sliding doors inside the staggered shelves have circular recesses. Althoughit is not easily seen in the photograph, there is a flower-shaped family crest cut into the side.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

with iron kettle

Middle neineteenth centuryH.14,W.32,D.22 in.(35,83,55 cm)Zelkova,copper lining,brass fittings,fuki-urushi lacquer

Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Hibachi

Late nineteenth century
H.12,D iam.35 in.(29,91 cm)

Brass handles,copper lining
This type of hibachi,used mainly in temples,is noteworthy for its largeness and chrysanthermum pattern.

Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-

Tree-trunk hibachi(domaru-hibachi)

Late nineteenth century

H.12,D iam.20 in.(30,51 cm.)Pauloenia

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery-Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Sea Chest (funa-dansu)
portable ledger box/strongbox (chobako)
Hikidashi//hirakido-gata (drawer/hinged double-door style)
Late nineteenth century, Sado, Niigata Prefecture
H.23,D. 18in.(SO,58,45cm)
Zelkova, Patinated iron fittings, fuki-urushi (wiped) lacquerPrivate collection

Produced in Ogi, Sado Island, this funa-dansu features beautiful figuredwood and elegantly designed eyo-kurigata (curved abstracts) openworkmetal fittings with double straps that continue around the sides. The uppersection contains a single drawer and, although the lower section has theappearance of having hinged double-doors, the left door is actually a zuri-do(one that slides to one side to be lifted out). The interior of the right dooris divided into two sections, top and bottom, each containing a endon-buta(drop-fit) door. The interior of the upper kendon-buta is divided into left andright, the right side holding a writing box with a secret box behind it, andthe left side containing a drawer. The lower kendon-buta contains a moneybox. The area behind the zuri-do is divided into two sections, the upper containing drawers, and the lower a kendon-buta that opens to reveal a box with asliding lid that opens to reveal a paulownia box with a sliding lid on its upperfare This chest was produced when funa-dansu were at their peak.

 Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Clothing Chest (isho-dansu)

1890s, Tsuruoka,Yamagata Prefecture
H.48,W. 34V2.D. 18in. (122, 88,45 cm)
Paulownia, patinated iron fittings, black lacquer
Private collection
This is a black-lacquered dowry tansu produced in Tsuruoka. The hingeddouble-doors in the top half open to reveal two drawers that were usedto store quality clothing. The drawers in the lower section were used foreveryday clothing or underwear, and the small, hinged door at the bottomright was for storing valuables. The design of this tansu, with auspicious symbols scattered over a black base, is similar to that of a wedding kimono. Thistype of old-fashioned elegance appealed to the conservative inhabitants ofhe castle town of Tsuruoka.
Chest,Japanese Furniture-Trad Japan's Gallery- Ledger Chest (cho-dansu)

Late nineteenth century, Izumo, Shimane Prefecture
H. 25,W. 26V2,D. 14V2in. (64, 67, 37cm)
Zelkova, patinated iron fittings, red lacquer
The Itohara Memorial

This ledger chest was used in the home of a rich landowner in the Izumo region. The exterior is of zelkova, but the interior is of paulownia. As is typical of Izumo tansu, the metalwork is not massive in appearance. Small kinchaku (purse)-shaped or ircular lock plates soften the overall appearance, while its red tone gives it a warm feel. In this chest, the metalwork is all iron, which-after an application of burnt lacquer finish-has then been given acoat of red lacquer. The lock bar has a family crest in the center (floral diamondwithin fern circle). This is an unusually flamboyant design for a ledger chest.