This Japanese Vintage Silver and Gold Mixed Metal Tobacco -bon Set was made during the time of Occupied Japan from 1947 to 1952 which is inscribed on the bottom of the tray. It was a purchase from Japan. There are four pieces, a tray, ashtray, and two boxes one larger than the other. This is a great collector's item for the collector of old tobacciana or Made in Occupied Japan collectibles. The tobacciana sets are very collectile, see more below. The large box is decorated with an eagle flying in front of a carved picture of the world. The smaller box is decorated with the sun with a wreath of leaves around it over waves. The ashtray also has an eagle and waves. The tray is hammered. The curved black lines on all the pieces are painted designs. While all of the bottoms are almost perfect, the top has stains and spots. Most likely many of these can be polished out, however, most prefer to leave in vintage items in their aged state.
Size of Tray : Length 12.44 inches or 31.59 cm, Width 6.61 inches or 16.78 cm, Height .062 inches or 1.57 cm. Weight 1963 grams or 4.19 lbs.
Japanese Folk Tobacciana
Tokugawa Shogunate reluctantly signed a treaty with America in 1854, Japan resumed its love-hate affair with the West. But there was one gift from the West that Japan had already happily embraced. Japan adored tobacco. Japan loved to smoke. And when Japan takes to something, whether it is cars, cameras, or tobacco, it makes it wholly its own.
Tobacciana Japanese style is varied, interesting, and collectible. Some of the most captivating objects are tonkotsu, the portable smoking sets that were indispensable to the Japanese for several hundred years.
With tobacco seeds brought by the traders, Japan began growing its own tobacco, possibly as early as 1600. Initially the government worried ald japan tobaccothat valuable farm land needed to grow food would be given over to this new herb and futilely sought to prohibit and then to control its cultivation. By the 17th century tobacco was firmly established as a popular consumer luxury.
A new pastime required new accessories. For the home, a set of utensils called a tobako-bon was developed. Basically, it consisted of a serving tray, a pot containing charcoal from which to light one’s pipe, and an ashtray. Other items could be added. These could be simple or elaborate, made from plain wood or exquisite lacquer, depending on what one could afford.
As popular as pipe smoking was, exposure to Western ways would change pipe-smoking culture, though the love of tobacco would continue unabated. Travelers from the West would witness this sea change as it was happening. While Japan was developing rapidly around them, visitors wanted to absorb as much of quaint old Japan as they could. One famous visitor who arrived in 1871 and stayed for two years was Charles Longfellow, son of America’s leading poet. Along with getting tattooed, which was a favorite souvenir, Longfellow had himself photographed in traditional carpenter’s dress. Prominently displayed with him is a tobako-bon.
written by and excerpts from the website tobacco-facts july 8, 2010
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