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William Lipton Ltd

A Ship Captain's Chest
Japanese, Edo Period
18.25 inches high x 22.5 inches wide x 18 inches deep
Provenance: William Sturgis Bigelow Gift,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

A Ship Captain's Chest, funa-dansu, the robust, rectangular cho-bako-style box of keyaki wood lined with kiri wood, strongly bound and decorated with elaborate cloud-form iron mountings, with one long drawer above on hinged door and one sliding door, enclosing a fitted interior of one box drawer on the left side, on the back side of which is written the history of the chest and on the right side three small stacked drawers, the six locks each with their original curved iron keys.

Used as a ship's safe, this cabinet would have safeguarded money and documents on one of the many ships that sailed the Japanese seas during the Edo period. The heavy bracing was necessary given the ruggedness of sea-going travel.

Detail: closed

all text, images William Lipton Ltd

 

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