Japanese Gilt Honda Tabako-bon

c. 1900
$1,380 USD
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W: 10.75" D: 6.75" H: 12.0"
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This lacquered 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 late 19th century tabako-bon has an elegant, basket-like form and is finished with black lacquer and bold gilt decoration. The repeated gilt motif is the emblem (mon) of the Honda clan, a familial line that claims descent from medieval nobles.

The open portion of the box holds two removable containers with metal linings and lacquered exteriors. The larger container is a small hibachi (hi-ire) that held the lit charcoal used to light one's tobacco pipe. The smaller, lidded container was used to hold ash and waste. This tabako-bon is complete with two long bamboo smoking pipes (rao-kiseru) that sit into the grooves cut into the top of the bon. The three lower drawers were used to hold shredded tobacco, tongs, and cleaning tools. A wonderful example of a fine Japanese lacquerware, this smoking set lives on as a beautiful keepsake of the past.

Minor splits to fretwork on back of box.

Additional Dimensions:
Without Handle: 8"H
Pipes: 13.5"L x 0.25"D
Hibachi: 3.5"W x 3.5"D x 3.5"H
Ash Container: 2.5"W x 2.5"D x 4"H

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