Japanese Tokyo Shop Tabako-bon

$880 USD
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W: 9.5" D: 5.5" H: 5.75"
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This wooden box is a Japanese tabako-bon, or 'tobacco tray,' used to store tobacco and smoking accessories. Believed to have evolved from the traditional accessories of Japanese incense ceremony, tabako-bons first came into use in the 17th century and were often beautifully decorated to display one's wealth and status.

This tabako-bon has the form of a naga hibachi and was originally used by the patrons of a shop in Tokyo. The open top is divided into three compartments, the largest lined with sheet metal for use as a small hibachi (hi-ire). Insulated by a layer of ash, lit charcoal was placed into the hibachi and used to light one's smoking pipe.

The sides are carved with calligraphy identifying the tabako-bon as belonging to the Izamiya shop of the Hachobori region of Tokyo and dating its creation to 1922. It was customary for visitors of a shop to chat and smoke with the shop keeper, and consequently many shops, inns, and tea houses provided tabako-bons such as this for their customers. The box is complete with brass chopsticks used to move burning coals and a bamboo receptacle (haifuki) used for ash and other waste.

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