Japanese Antique Tobacco Pouch

Antique Japanese Tobacco Pouch with Sterling Kanemono Oni | Meiji Era



Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: Pouch: 4-5/8”l  x 3-1/4”h; Kagamibuta: 3-0”dia; Chain: 4-1/2”l

An opulent melange of materials and craftsmanship come together in this late 19th-century tobacco pouch, (used as a coin pouch) features a sterling clasp, (Kanemono), that has a detailed writhing devil (Oni), amidst his treasures all rendered in sterling, and mounted on textured leather. The best feature of the interior flap is a sterling, copper, and gold repose saver plate (Kanemono) with the figure of Oni running through the clouds. It has a wonderful embossed sterling Chrysanthemum Manju with several heavy metal Kanagu and chains individually hand-soldered connecting to the black leather pouch.  All hand-made with fantastic craftsmanship. The interior is leather-lined and in excellent condition except for a smooth fold on the flap which aids in closing the pouch, which remains extremely stable. The plaque has the untranslated signature of the maker. The workmanship indicates that it was designed for an aristocratic samurai class individual.

Condition: Overall condition is excellent with some traces of use, especially inside where the flap folds to open and close. Finally, we were told that this piece was actually used as a coin/money pouch because the leather interior only smells like leather and has a tactile, soft finish which is more compatible with coin use than tobacco storage.

NOTE: In Asia, demands were both visible, invisible, named, and specific in form. Most were categorized as to the specific type and associated with assistance in achieving a specific goal or combating evil, often bearing the ideographs for “luck” or “happiness”, and “endurance”. Many images of evil were also found in the theatre via onigaware faces on masks, having human characters, who passionate emotions of hate and revenge have imparted to them demonic qualities. Many were depicted on metal masks worn on the faces of feudal warriors to scare off the enemy. In Japanese art, many were generically depicted as humanlike creatures with squarish heads, short horns, claws, ragged or fanlike teeth, prominent eyebrows, and fierce expressions with glaring eyes and one mouth.  In the Edo period, the pastime of telling ghost stories and representing them in woodblock prints was common. Japanese art reflects both the efforts mounted to counter demands and the activities of the demons themselves.