What’s a Getabako?

Everyone needs a getabako. What an invention! The Japanese shoe chest (geta = shoe, bako = box) is a must in any household.

It’s a cupboard traditionally used to store shoes removed while at home. In Japan , you’ll usually find it at the entrance way or on the porch. Near it, you might find a slipper rack, where you can select something more comfortable for wearing instead.

Antique getabako are usually constructed of fragrant cedar wood, but often have lovely bamboo, bone or richly grained wood accents.

Two things to consider when purchasing:

How many pairs of shoes will it hold?

Since this is one of our most popular tansu, we get a lot of feedback from our customers. Many clients buy a small getabako first, then find they need a larger one as they misjudged the size of that pile of shoes that oddly grows at entranceways and in bedrooms everywhere.

Will my shoes fit comfortably?

Today’s feet are generally larger than those for which an antique getabako was originally crafted. If Big Foot lives in your home, keep in mind that the depth of the shoe tansu is an important consideration!

To view all the fine getabako available at Jcollector/Jtansu click here.

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Japanese Lacquerware at Jcollector

Recently we traveled to Japan and New York where, among other items, we found some exceptional lacquerware.
Lacquer has played an important part in Japanese culture for more than two thousand years but came into full bloom during the Edo period (1603-1868).  The finished product is so sublime as to appear simple to produce, but lacquer craftsmanship is perhaps the most complex of all Japan’s artistic traditions. For example, just creating a black- or red-lacquer ground can require as many as 30 stages, including the application of increasingly fine grades of lacquer mixed with different powders and then several additional layers of even higher-quality lacquer.

On our trip, we came across several sets of covered bowls,

delicately rendered serving trays,

accessories for use in the Japanese tea ceremony such as natsume and kogo,

storage boxes for letters, make-up or keepsakes,

and inro,

the decorative containers traditionally worn at the belt of the samurai to carry pills, ink, seals and other necessities.

You’ll find a great website for information on Japanese lacquerware at the following link:

Also, Daruma magazine, Issue 33, gives a detailed explanation of lacquer methods, materials, tools and processes.

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New Japanese Furniture Shipment at Jcollector/Jtansu

Our latest shipment of fine Japanese tansu has arrived!

Ruben spent a week in May selecting a wide variety of exceptional pieces, including kitchen tansu, merchant tansu and the ever-popular getabako shoe tansu (a best seller!).  Check out this great two-tone mizuya with keyaki wood accents and roomy getabako, an eye-catching must for getting that pile of shoes off the floor and tucked away.

Mizuya is a term used for a storage cupboard traditionally found in the Japanese kitchen.  Its more literal definition is “water-area cabinet.”  This type of tansu comes in a range of sizes, configurations and sophistication.  Some of our customers prefer a simpler, more rustic style crafted using elements like wire mesh and bamboo accents.  Others favor a more elegant design fashioned with highly desirable and richly grained keyaki or zelkova wood and iron-studded paneling.

For an overview of different types of kitchen tansu, click here.

Our favorite reference books on Japanese tansu include Kazuko Koisumi’s Traditional Japanese Furniture and Rosy Clarke’s Japanese Antique Furniture.