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Japanese Cabinets, Armoires & Cupboards

Japanese cabinets, armoires, and cupboards are all referred to as “tansu”. Tansu were traditionally used to store a variety of things like kimonos, futon, food, firewood, books, and more. These cabinets were rarely permanent, and were usually created to be portable either with wheels for pushing or iron handles for lifting.

Japanese tansu were commonly used during the Edo and Meiji periods. Depending on occupation and purpose, tansu varied in size and configuration. Merchants usually used lightweight chests that had many small drawers and compartments for storage. Merchant class women, however, would have large double-doored tansu to store clothing.


Quick Facts

  • During the Edo period, tansu did not exhibit many variations in style due to strict class regulation in its feudal samurai culture; rank was extremely important and excessive consumerism was discouraged
  • Joints of tansu were typically very simple and needed extra reinforcement. Iron plates were therefore added to joints, later becoming more and more decorative
  • The most prized of tansu, with its heavy use of ironwork and elaborate decoration, is the “sado shima dansu” type. These chests were made both for merchants and clothing

Recommended Items at Auction

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Zushi shrine with fittings, Ja
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
Zushi shrine with fittings, Ja
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1500 Bids
A FINE PAIR OF IVORY SHIBAYAMA-STYLE MINIATURE CABINETS WITH FISHES AND SILVER FITTINGS
Nov 11, 9:30 AM CET
A FINE PAIR OF IVORY SHIBAYAMA-STYLE MINIATURE CABINETS WITH FISHES AND SILVER FITTINGS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €1,200- €1,800
€1,2000 Bids
A BLACK-LACQUERED WOOD CABINET
Nov 11, 9:30 AM CET
A BLACK-LACQUERED WOOD CABINET
by Nagel Auction
Est: €2,500- €3,500
€2,4000 Bids
A SMALL GOLD-INLAID LACQUER CABINET
Nov 11, 9:30 AM CET
A SMALL GOLD-INLAID LACQUER CABINET
by Nagel Auction
Est: €600- €1,000
€6000 Bids
TWO WOODEN CABINETS, PARTLY LACQUERED AND WITH METAL FITTINGS AND A BRUSHPOT
Nov 11, 9:30 AM CET
TWO WOODEN CABINETS, PARTLY LACQUERED AND WITH METAL FITTINGS AND A BRUSHPOT
by Nagel Auction
Est: €100- €200
€1000 Bids
Cabinet piece. Japan. Meiji period (1868-1912).
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Cabinet piece. Japan. Meiji period (1868-1912).
by Tremont Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
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A tall hardwood cabinet Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th/early 20th century
Nov 04, 11:00 AM GMT
A tall hardwood cabinet Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th/early 20th century
by Bonhams
Est: £5,000- £7,000
£5,0000 Bids
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A TWO-PART LACQUER DISPLAY CABINET, SHODANA Meiji Period (2)
Nov 01, 10:00 AM GMT
A TWO-PART LACQUER DISPLAY CABINET, SHODANA Meiji Period (2)
by Bonhams
Est: £3,000- £5,000
£3,0000 Bids
JAPON - Epoque MEIJI (1868-1912)
Nov 07, 1:00 PM CET
JAPON - Epoque MEIJI (1868-1912)
by OXIO
Est: €400- €500
€4000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Cabinets, Armoires & Cupboards


Nagel Auction

Nagel Auction

Bonhams

Bonhams

Vickers & Hoad

Vickers & Hoad

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus