Dramatically handsome is this miniature tansu, designed to hold dolls' clothes for the celebration of Girls Day in Japan. Covered on all sides in Korean-style marquetry of various woods -- red ash, persimmon, ebony – in a crazy-quilt jumble of stylized fans, game boards and geometric devices, highlighted with silvered mounts. The two doors portray an inset scene of a rooster and hen with their chicks surrounded by summer flowers, masterfully executed in raised lacquer, a tribute to domestic bliss. When the doors are opened, a fantastic lacquer interior of lifelike imitation birch-bark and many floral roundels in brilliant lacquer and tinted mother-of-pearl are revealed. The effect is truly dazzling. (Many years ago, the tansu held the jewels of a San Francisco debutante who married a French count. They founded a dynasty of West Coast newspaper publishers.)
This splendid tansu dates from about the end of the Edo Era to the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Mejii, around 1860. It is in fine condition with a few flaws here and there that do do detract from the overall effect. It measures approximately 21-1/2 inches high by 23-1/2 inches wide by 13-1/4 inches deep.