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Japanese Leather Tobacco Pouch, Meiji

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All Items: Antiques:Regional Art:Asian:Japanese:Netsuke and Related: Pre 1920: item # 105542

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418
203-929-7312

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$495.00

Japanese Leather Tobacco Pouch, Meiji
A fine embossed and polychromed leather tobacco pouch (“tobako-ire”) with large silver clasp (“kanemono”) depicting a karashishi with peony in relief. Late 19th century. The 10-strand brass chain, held together by a brass ojime-type fitting with relief work dragon, is fitted to a large kagamibuta (mirror lid) netsuke with a gilded silver top, also worked with a dragon in low relief, within an ivory colored manju. The front of the embossed leather pouch is decorated with Japanese irises, and the back has seabirds on a plank bridge. The interior is covered with embossed suede decorated with flowers and vines. The pouch has two pockets: one large one and a smaller hidden one secured by an ivory clip. (We found a business card, probably of the owner, dated October 4, 1903, in the small inner pocket along with a leather match striker.)

This beautifully crafted and nicely aged pouch is a wonderful example of a sagemono or hanging object. Sagemono were an essential storage item as the kimono did not have pockets. Raymond Bushell tells us that the Meiji era (1868-1912) was the golden age of the smoker’s sagemono. Fashion and skilled craftsmen collaborated to produce costly tobacco pouches with clasps made by the best metal artists.

CONDITION: This pouch, from an old Seattle estate, is well worn; however it is in very good condition considering its age and daily usage. The leather shows some age wear and is dry, and the right side of the larger pocket needs to be re-stitched.

DIMENSIONS: Pouch measures 5 ½” (14 cm)wide by 3 ¾” (9.6 cm) high; chain is 4 ½” (11.5 cm) long; netsuke is 2” (5 cm) in diameter.



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