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Collection

Unknown

(Japan  – )

Title
Pipe case
Other titles:
Kiseruzutsu (pipe case)
Alternative title:
Rokkaku kiseruzutsu
Place of origin
Japan
Period
Meiji period 1868 - 1912 → Japan
Year
19th century
Media category
Sculpture
Materials used
ivory, carved stag antler
Dimensions

21.5 x 1.9 cm:

a - case; 2.5 x 16.2 x 1.9 cm

b - lid; 2 x 9.5 x 1.4 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of Graham E. Fraser 1988
Accession number
522.1988.a-b
Location
Not on display
Further information

Tobacco was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 17th century. When the Japanese government tried to curtail its use by official bans, it was smuggled into the country under the name of "life prolinging tea". The government eventually relented and by the late Edo tobacco smoking was a pastime widespread in Japan.

The accoutrements of smoking, particularly the tobacco pouchs, pipes and pipe cases, were a common feature of male dress in Edo period Japan, and much skill and wit was lavished on their decoration.

The pipe case is decorated in a spare and understated manner with sacred Chinese 'lingzhi' fungus of immortality above.

Asian Art Dept., AGNSW, November 1988.