Monday, 1 December 2008

Mr Kubo's miniature tansu

I have several of these lovely miniature tansu made by Mr Kubo and sold by Ichiroya. If you have attended one of my one-hour workshops at a quilt show, you will probably have seen the miniature traditional sewing box (haribako) he made -

It is so much easier for me to carry this than my full-size traditional workbox, about twice as long, wide and high - and much heavier. But just like the old sewing boxes, this one has a "secret" drawer (the kind of secret everyone knows ).

The small drawers are just the right size for storing half a dozen pairs of scissors, sashiko needles, marking pens etc.

These boxes are made from Japanese cypress (hinoki), so they have a delicious scent! This one has a panel covering the front.

Raise the panel, and a series of tiny drawers are revealed. I keep my sewing machine needles in this one. It is about 9in tall.

This miniature hibachi is typical of the region around Kyoto. It is about 4in (10cm) tall. Even the brazier is lined in copper, just like the real thing.

The miniature "dolls house" cabinet is charming hybrid between a house and a tansu. I'm pretty sure it is another of Mr Kubo's creations, as it is very much in his style. It was intended as a prop for one of the styled photos in "Japanese Sashiko Inspirations" but didn't get used, so I think it will have to wait for a future book! It doesn't really fit with any particular scale, but I love the way the roof uses the woodgrain to suggest thatch.

The front lifts off -

to reveal two "rooms", the upper one with a slatted window -

Ichiroya have several of his miniature tansu on special price right now... so if you are looking for something unusual for Christmas, here it is! (If the link doesn't work, go to the main Ichiroya site at and go to Ichiroya Antiques... search for "tansu" and note they spell "miniature" as "miniture")

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