Japanese Copper Woven Box with Lid | Meiji Period
This is a beautiful and intricately woven copper box with removable cover (the entire piece is woven from top to bottom). It is from the Meiji period and is in exceptional condition. The rounded rectangular box has a kiri wood interior lining. Our understanding is that this piece was typically used for incense and cigarettes, (Asian market), and for playing cards (European market). The piece is in excellent condition with a beautiful patina. It should be noted that the weaving of the material was specifically done to allow the fragrance of the incense to escape. Age: 1912. Dimensions: 5-0”L x 4-0” d x 2-0”h.
Mixed metals, particularly bronze and copper continued to be an important export product. The Japanese government decided to concentrate on exhibiting handcrafts throughout Europe because Japan’s industrial products were still undeveloped and the government judged that handcrafts were the only thing capable of communicating Japan’s unique character in product design. Foreign observers commented at the time that Japanese metalworking techniques were extremely precise, all the various alloys used were of different colors, and their chemical coloring techniques were also superb.
The 19th century marked the apogee of foreign acclaim of Japanese metal crafts. The uncompromising realism of their designs and highly refined skills were applauded as a product of a country that had developed a very different kind of culture and understanding of celebrating the natural use of materials.