Hopefully this isn't too off topic, but I recently bought this clothing chest off yahoo auctions and am currently waiting for it to arrive - so to distract myself while its in transit, i was just wondering if anyone on here might like to weigh in with a thought as to its age?
Also, (sorry for the really dumb question) if as i think, the crests all over it are actually Tokugawa/Matsudaira and not some bastardized variation, do they actually mean anything as far as a Tokugawa or Matsudaira attribution is concerned, or by the later edo period had it essentially devolved into an almost generic reproduced decorative motif?
Unfortunately it looks to be missing its doors, but beggars cant be choosers...
Last Edit: Sept 19, 2017 16:46:25 GMT by damienw92
Thank you for confirming that the crests are indeed Tokugawa. If you were to hazard a guess, do you have any suspicions as to age? I was thinking maybe early to mid 19th century? But then, i'm a definite novice so its just a guess... Damien W
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2017 13:30:21 GMT by damienw92
I'm really not too sure as to the reason for the absence of a lacquer finish on the drawers... Its obviously missing a set of similarly fancy lacquer doors, so perhaps it was a deliberate aesthetic choice for contrast? ...seems hard to imagine they suddenly ran out of money after decorating the exterior...
It'll be interesting to be able to have a really close look at it in person when it arrives in a few weeks, but from the sellers pictures it doesnt really look like the drawers are later replacements or have been stripped...
unfortunately there were no closeups of the drawer handles so until it gets here there's not much to go on for roughly dating it from those, but the exterior metalwork looks to be good quality to my (novice) eye Damien
I would be inclined to think it had doors originally rather than a bar, going by the slight discolouration and the seven gaps in the makie design on the front edge of the sides. It looks to me as though the original center front plate on the top has been lost and replaced with mismatched hardware too...I'm thinking it would probably be more or less the same as the wide plate in the center of the back side of the top.
If that is the case i'm not sure what i'll do about it...possibly try to take some molds and see if something can be cast or electroformed to match?
Hard to say for sure until i've seen it in person though. For now i just have to be patient and hope it gets here in one piece
I did happen to stumble across this the other night... Appears to have very similar metalwork and from the description it sounds like a plain interior too It also provides a possible template for the hinges and locks on the doors i might have to make for mine
Damien, I'm also just a novice, but I think Chris is right about the middle bar: the middle plate on the bottom has two little holes where a vertical could've been attached. Sure, you're right about the seven gaps in the design on the sides, but on the photos I don't see holes there and I'm not sure you could've covered them up so neatly...
These tansu were used in case of fire. The fact that they are wheeled allowed them to be moved quickly in an emergency. As for the Tokugawa running out of money - no. When Tokugawa Iemitsu re-built Nikko for Ieyasu's burial it cost an unbelievable amount (there were 4.5 million people involved) and when I commented to a priest that it must have almost bankrupted the country his answer was 'no, they payed out of the petty cash'. And have you seen the tea ceremony equipment in Nagoya? Ian B
Good point David about the absence of holes...it'll be interesting to see it for real to find out for sure what's actually going on If it is actually just a bar then its a muuuuuuch easier replacement job than making up a pair of matching doors...
It just seems off that after using fancy chased metalwork for everything else they'd skimp at the end and use plain fittings top and bottom for the locking bar, unless the real ones were lost and replaced cheaply, or else all the gold's worn off and the average photos arent picking up the chased detail
Well i suppose when you're a reigning warlord its important to have the best toys Afterall, who'd want the usual 'rough' and simple tea wares everyone else has when you could have gold... for all of it Damien
The wheels are surely those of the trolley upon which it stands. (?)
The square iron carrying loops suggest Sankin Kotai, a practice which ended with the Edo Period. The overall quality of the work suggests this was a chest for an especially wealthy family at a time when furniture of any kind was a luxury. A shame about all the damage, though.
The damage is a real drawback, but the hammer price of the chest was accordingly cheap to make up for it which was a nice surprise. Packing and shipping on the other hand is another matter...
Do you have any thoughts as to whether it had a single locking bar or a pair of doors originally?
My urushi skills are unfortunately, barely existent, but having done a lot of shellac work in the past, i was contemplating french polishing and gilding a bar or a new pair of paulownia doors for it...not a perfect replacement... but better than nothing Damien W
Last Edit: Sept 25, 2017 12:49:56 GMT by damienw92
Can we see a faint shadow of an upright piece? Yes? No?
My first instinct is to say that there was one panel covering the entire front, slipping up into a groove in the top ridge first, with a vertical central exterior post integral to it locking at the bottom. Such would be quite a common usage in Japan.