1870's Japanese Tea Box/Hibachi
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Known as a naga-hibachi, this chest was the center of social life in a Meiji era home. It was actually a hibachi or brazier in which tea water was brewed. It has its original copper liner in which ash was once filled to half way on which coals were set to warm the tea water. It is made of burl zelkova wood to show off the beautiful grain It is trimmed in persimmon wood. The drawer interiors are made of kiri (paulownia). Along with the zelkova there is persimmon trim. Large inset side handles (see picture 3 & 4) aided in moving this large chest even when hot coals burned inside. Five various sized drawers were used to house everything from iron chopsticks for tending the coals to extra charcoal, as well as paraphernalia for tea ceremony.
This hibachi tansu chest is made with pegged-tenon open-mortise corner box joint construction. This chest has all its 140 year old deep rich patina. All drawers move easily without binding. The handles are made of hand forged copper.