Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery

Postby chamekke » Sep 18th, '09, 11:07

JBaymore wrote:And yes, I've also found that the wooden boxes can sometimes be a problem too. If you don't keep the paper on top and the ribbon tied they can get pretty funky. Usually it varies with the time of year and the humidity. Often they go back to shape as that changes. Obviously the cheaper, less well made boxes are more of an issue.

I am a professional potter and have boxes made for some of my work (deliberately using American native woods), and one "trick" that the woodworker and I have discovered is using hardwood (oak) for the rails inside the box lid to help prevent this problem with the softwood box. Adds a bit to the cost of the boxes though :lol: .


ITA. In my experience, warping of lids seems to be most pronounced on boxes that are missing their ribbon (or never had one to begin with - usu. the cheaper ones). Another reason why I am religious about tying the tomobako as snugly as possible... and obtaining new ribbons for older boxes that have lost theirs.

That's a wonderful suggestion re: the hardwood rails. I'm going to pass that solution along to a potter friend who is also looking into having tomobako made specially for her. Thank you very much for sharing the idea!
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Re: Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery

Postby JBaymore » Sep 18th, '09, 12:13

chamekke wrote:That's a wonderful suggestion re: the hardwood rails. I'm going to pass that solution along to a potter friend who is also looking into having tomobako made specially for her. Thank you very much for sharing the idea!


No problem, glad to help out. If she is not in the USA, then I imagine any good hardwood likely will help with the warping issue. And having the full recesssed lid flange ("4 rails") also makes a big difference.... but also makes a difference in the box fabrication costs.

Also ......I am assuming that the woodworker she uses should know this...... but make sure if it is a 2 rail lid that the rails are on the sides that are 90 degrees to the grain that the wood will tend to warp in. (Hope that made sense.)

I also usually have the woodworker "pin" the side joints of the larger boxes with hardwood. We've found that the round hardwood toothpicks cut off square and glued are just about the right size and strength and somewhat readily available. And they add a nice visual "touch" to the box.

best,

...............john
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Re: Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery

Postby robbie_olive » Sep 19th, '09, 02:09

Every chawan or piece of Japanese pottery I've ever bought, I've made sure that is comes in its original box. Luckily for me, I can read Japanese and can match up the bowl with the calligraphy on the box.

As you become more experienced at buying Japanese pottery, you can begin to learn the styles of the pottery that the artist makes, as well as learning their handwriting, as each Japanese potter has their unique way of handwriting in Japanese.

To me, it would seem sacrilegious to throw out the box, as the box is just as valuable as what's inside. By doing so, you can devalue the chawan/pottery by up to hundreds of dollars! (The chawan/pottery I collect tend to be very valuable Hagiyaki).

I have had a box made up for me by Hidehisa Moroyose of Magokorodo which cost me USD400 (for a set of Seigan tea plates), but they can cost up to USD1000 or more to be made, depending on the type of wood used. I also had Seigan write the calligraphy on the box attached to the tea plates. Using Japanese rice paper to protect the calligraphy on the box, will preserve it for much longer.

Anyway, just though I'd comment on my experiences with tomobako.

Cheers!
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Re: Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery

Postby JBaymore » Sep 19th, '09, 09:36

robbie_olive wrote:To me, it would seem sacrilegious to throw out the box, as the box is just as valuable as what's inside. By doing so, you can devalue the chawan/pottery by up to hundreds of dollars!


It is sort of like throwing out the deed to your house. :wink:

best,

..............john
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Re: Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery

Postby edkrueger » Jan 4th, '11, 17:18

I know that this thread is old, but I think it should be pinned. I reference it a lot for the tying instructions.
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Re: Tomobako - the all-important box for Japanese pottery

Postby Chip » Jan 4th, '11, 17:41

edkrueger wrote:I know that this thread is old, but I think it should be pinned. I reference it a lot for the tying instructions.

You could also click on "bookmark topic" at the bottom left of this page (or any page or topic you want to save). Then it is in your TC bookmarks and clickable on page 1 of your User Control Panel. :mrgreen: In fact, I just saved this topic as well.
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