What is a “Tansu” ?

Tansu, A generic term for chests.  Tansu comes in various shapes, sizes and function.  Isho dansu is to store clothing, Mizuya , literally means “water room” is the Japanese word for a kitchen chest.  The kaidan dansu (staircase chest) is probably one of my favorite tansu.  They were used for access to upstairs, the drawers for storage .  There are wheeled chests(Kuruma dansu), heavy duty used to store family heirlooms, Ship’s chest (funadansu),carried the Captain’s ship papers and coins. Kodansu are small chests,  Medicine chest (Kusuri dansu), Cho-dansu(Merchant chest), Katana-dansu(sword chest), Chadansu(tea chests), And then there are the boxes, zenibako(accountant’s box), saisenbako(temple offertory boxes), getabako(shoe cabinet) haribako(sewing box).  Tansu have very distinctive metalwork, handforged iron handles and depending on the area they were made, elaborate design metal plates.


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April 19, 2019

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