is a Japanese cha (tea) bako (box). It is made of
Japanese cedar (which keeps bugs out) and is completely lined in
tin to keep things inside fresh. The boxes were used to transport
tea from distributors to the tea shops. There are at least 15 different
sizes so depending on the size of the shop & the number of different
types of tea they carried, they had a variety to choose from.
There are 3 sizes listed that are nori boxes. Nori is the dried
seaweed that is pressed into square sheets to wrap sushi or onigiri
(rice balls). These boxes have more of a square shape than
a rectangular one. There are 100, 200, & 1000 nori
The making of the tea boxes is slowly becoming a dying art.
generation is looking for jobs with high tech gadgets. The distributors
have now gone to plastic and vacuum packaging so the number
of makers has been drastically reduced. We are hoping to
this art alive for many generations to come by using them as pieces
larger boxes (10sq or larger) are reinforced with plywood and a
dense (20yr) upholstery grade foam is placed on top so you can sit
on the boxes for extra seating or you can put a piece of glass on
top to use it as a table.
Decorated boxes can be used for anything from a jewelry box (100
nori), cd or dvd box (200 nori, 1K, 10sq), ottoman (1000nori, 40sq),
toy box (40sq), side table (20K), cedar chest (40K or 60K).
The uses are endless so be creative & be sure to pass ideas
in how you choose to use your teabox. It is not just a decorative
box but a piece of furniture.