Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品

Iwayado Tansu

Iwayado Tansu Photo

The origins of Iwayado Tansu date back to the end of the 18th century, when the custodian of Iwayado castle had his retainers look into the commercial possibilities of such pieces of wooden furniture as chests with lids and others riding on palettes fitted with wheels. Corresponding to present-day Esashi City, Iwayado had a long tradition of metal casting and wood craft because it was the stronghold of Kiyohira. He was a first generation Oshu Fujiwara who established the Hiraizumi culture at the end of the Heian period (794-1185) but lived in Iwayado for thirty years before moving to Hiraizumi. The chests are made of zelkova (Zelkova serrata) and paulownia (Paulownia Sieb. et Zucc.) and main facings are lacquered before being fitted with beautiful hand cut and beaten sturdy metal fittings. In some cases these chests function as safes and have locks, and are one of Japan's most representative traditional chests. Mainly fitted with draws, these chests come in a variety of sizes.