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 Japanese Cabinetry This volume reveals how the making of tansu cabinetry combined the traditions of the joiner, blacksmith, and finisher in the days before the industrialization of the process. The color illustrations of the merchant, household, and personal cabinetry and the beautiful reproductions of Meiji era hand-colored photos and Edo period prints reveal the essential details of the simple but beautiful pieces. The text by tansu collector Jackson provides historical context and includes an interior design chapter that documents the use of such cabinetry in Western homes. Oversize: 11x12.25". Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR
  Date Published 11/15/2002

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Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
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Comments: I Recommend this book
I have been dealing in these sort of things for some time , yes.The collection displayed here is of good quality and is quite a nice representation of what's available.A good book.
Rated By: Jeffery
From: Chicago, IL
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Comments: The cover alone should be enough to interest you
Not even sure where to begin other than to say that as mentioned above, the cover alone should be plenty to strike your interest. As a true lover and collector of Japanese art, this book goes above and beyond to show just exactly why it could be labeled as a "coffee table book". It has been on mine for weeks now. It is such a great sourcebook for Japanese cabinetry/tansu and goes even further to show pieces actually used for daily use in people's homes. The size of the book and the photography are SO worth the price. It truly is a fabulous book. I strongly recommend it. Whether you are an obsessed collector of Japanese art or not, it is definitely a great book to have in your collection.
Rated By: John Kriegshauser
From: Chicago, IL
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Comments: Strong on Art , Light on Craft
I am biased; I am a woodworker. This is actually a terrific book offering a huge collection of beautiful photos, and an extensive commentary about the role of Tansu in Japanese lifestyle and culture. However the craft of making Tansu was not well represented. From the title I would have expected more on tools, techniques and joinery.
Rated By: Richard Capps
From: Australia
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Comments: A Real Eye Opener
I have only been selling Japanese Antiques for a short time and I found this book is fantastic to show potential tansu customers. It has also helped us (Japanache dot com dot au) with selection when on buying trips to Japan and restoration once back in Australia.
Thanks David & Dane
Rated By: Rebecca Johnson
From: Washington State
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Comments: A Tansu Tribute
If you are fascinated by the creation of handmade Japanese cabinetry, this is one of the few books you can find on the subject because for some reason, the cabinetry of Japan is one of the least recorded aspects of Japan's woodworking history. Throughout this guide, you will find lush photographs of opaque and transparent lacquered chests, their hand-forged iron handles and the tools of the trade. I especially enjoyed the hand-colored photos of family life, rice fields and the textile sellers. Not only do you get to glimpse this magical world of Zen temples and street merchants selling sweet rice drinks, you will be able to view page after page of stunning merchant chests, bedding chests, clothing chests and mizuya-dansu (kitchen cupboards).

I've always been intrigued by chests filled with magical little drawers in which anything could be stored. This book has made me aware of the wide variety of chests that can be purchased and most of the pages are filled with pictures and descriptions so you can know what to look for online. Before finding this particular book, I was at a loss for what to look for. Now I have the names of items like the sea chest (funa-dansu) and realize the difference in the woods used. I think the cho-dansu made of keyaki with the distinctive iron fittings on page 111 is just stunning. The cho-bako funa-dansu (ship chest) is also very interesting as it features tortoise, a symbol of prosperity and longevity.

The detailed descriptions of the lockplates are presented with photographs. If you are a student of this craft (or looking for pictures of things like a cherry blossom motif), the pages on the components of a tansu will encourage you to explore all the essential details in your own selections. They also explain how all the L braces and iron-edge strapping are not only decorative, but highly functional.

As a person who has refinished a desk upon which I am typing, my appreciation for furniture went through an entire renewal process while reading "Japanese Cabinetry."


The Realm of Tansu: An Introduction
Tansu and Allied Trades
The Craft of Tansu
Tansu for Mercantile Use
Tansu for Household Use
Tansu for Personal Use
Living with Tansu
Collecting and Restoring Tansu

Not only does this book present early mercantile tansu designs, there are pictures of contemporary desks and even a section about books, magazines and catalogues for further research. The index, glossary of terms and chronological list of exhibitions make this book very easy to read and understand. There are also ideas for how to set up your tansu collection in your bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms and kitchen. You might even want to put a kitchen chest (mizuya) in your living room. This book also features entry tables, entertainment centers, coffee tables and bookcases and so much more.

Back to dreaming of owning the cho-dansu from the late Edo period (1615-1868). Not only can you view items from this period, you can read about the history and lifestyle of the people living in this era. This book would make a perfect gift for anyone who has lived in Japan or is interested in Japanese history. It would also be an amazing gift for anyone interested in Japanese movies. I have often wondered about various items and this book has provided more information than I could have ever dreamed about finding.

A note about the authors: David Jackson has been collecting tansu since 1990 and has studied sculpture and woodworking. He developed his passion for Japanese woodwork and then was involved with one of the first exhibitions of tansu in the United States. Dane Owen founded a gallery of Japanese antique furnishings and is also a frequent visitor to Japan. He can be found searching for objects for his customers and his own private collections. Together they have written the ultimate book on the Japanese craft of tansu. If you love tansu, your heart is going to beat a little faster while reading Japanese Cabinetry. I am beyond appreciative of David and Dane's knowledge of this subject. If you own one book on tansu, this would be an excellent choice.