Asian Antiques by Silk Road

Edo Zeni Bako Dated 1829

Edo Zeni Bako Dated 1829


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Furniture: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 894121

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A merchant’s money box, or zeni-bako, from Japan’s Edo Period carries an inscription that reads, “Purchased one lucky day in November in the 12th year of Bunsei,” which was 1829. The small copper coins in use at that time were called “zeni” and led to the development of simple, strong boxes for merchants to store coins during the business day. This box is made of thick keyaki wood and fitted with an iron lock and hasp. The top is constructed in two sections with a hole in the middle through which the coins were dropped. At the end of the day, the merchant unlocked the hasp, removed the front section of the lid, and the coins inside were easily accessible. The inscription noting the date the merchant purchased the box is on the underside of the removable lid (see photo enlargement #6). One hopes that it was indeed a lucky day and that he or she had a prosperous business. The first and subsequent owners of this zeni-bako kept it in excellent condition, and it remains so today. It shows normal wear as well as an old mend of a small crack at the right side of the removable lid (see photo enlargement #7). Dimensions: height 10 ¾” (27.5 cm), width 9 ½” (24.1 cm), depth 17” (43.2 cm). SEE MORE ITEMS IN OUR COLLECTION AT WWW.SILKROAD1.COM