Japanese tobacco box with pipe holder
Two factors make that the Japanese smoking equipment is completely different from the Western European counterpart. The first is that the pipe, made of metal in Japan, has a very small bowl in which extremely finely cut tobacco is smoked just in a few puffs. Secondly, this smoking utensil is not stored in a pocket of the jacket or trouser, but hangs on the belt and for that purpose a special pipe holder and tobacco box are made, often with a clear show function. The item shown is a good example. It is made of carved bone and both the pipe holder, the kiseruzutsu, and the tobacco box, the tonkotsu, are shaped in human forms. The tobacco box shows in its low wide shape a short fat person with a basket on the head, closed by a flat clamping lid. This lid is held in place by a sliding bead or ojime that is also carved and has the shape of a sitting panda bear. With its long slender shape, the pipe holder shows a skinny figure dressed in a kind of kimono. In order to enhance the carving on both objects, the deepest parts are coloured with a black paint or ink. The two objects are carried on a black braided cord on the belt and served for the packaging and transport of cut tobacco and tobacco pipe, not hidden away but displayed ostentatiously.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.955Permalink