Monday, March 24, 2008
Tansu is the collective term for the antique cabinetry of Japan. This cabinetry first appeared in the upper classes of society in the early Edo period (1615-1780), and by late Edo (1780-1867) and Meiji era (1968-1912), and had evolved into numerous styles built for a wide and diverse populace. Chests evolved from the coffers, trunks, and shelves of the nobility and warrior. The evolution of designs with multiple doors and drawers arose in response to changing needs during a period of economic expansion and rising standards of living. The Edo period was the merchant’s era. Japan, albeit in seclusion, was a country at peace and political stability afforded opportunities which the trader took advantage of. By the late Edo period, the merchant could often afford what the indebted warrior could not.