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Rare Japanese Traveling Cabinet Oi Edo Period



Served as a traveling cabinet and shrine and carried like a backpack for the Buddhist priests and monks during pilgrimage, this rare chest is known as Oi Japanese. In China the carrier case is also know as Ji, traditionally used by the traveling scholars or monks in ancient time to carry their belongings such as books, clothes, and stationary. The piece on offer here is of Japanese origin and dated to Edo period (circa 17-18th century), possibly older. It was likely reserved for the use of a high-rank priest to carry the Buddhism scripts based on its luxurious and high quality. The wood frame takes the shape of a pagoda with carved bamboo design that features upturned corner cornices and slightly sprayed legs. The back and the side were made of woven bamboo with lacquered interior paper lining, much of which has now degraded. This design allows the piece to be light weight, water resistant but breathable. The façade features a small upper and a large lower compartment with doors covered in lacquered paper painted with gilt mons and a dragon like form among floral pattern (in a rather abstract fashion). Along the chest, holes were placed with lining hardware. These are where the rope was threaded for the traveler's to carry it on his shoulder. The shelf in the lower compartment is collapsible, making the piece practical for storage function. A marvelous piece, it has been largely preserved in its intact form and mostly original condition. A very worn green silk rope is also present, but it is likely a later replacement. See a similar piece in Peabody Essex Musuem, see item E303292 in its Japanese Collection. Also Eugen Fuller Memorial Collection 72.15 in Seattle Art Museum.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 34 in. (86.36 cm)Width: 20.5 in. (52.07 cm)Depth: 19 in. (48.26 cm)
  • Style
    Japonisme (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    17th-18th Century
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Minor fading. Overall wear and color variation, scrapes, crackles and minor losses on the doors, losses of interior paper lining, heavy patina on all hardware, the rope is worn and faded, slight concave on the top. Older restoration visible in some spots.
  • Seller Location
    Atlanta, GA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU945019536812

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Atlanta, GA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 2 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Atlanta, GA
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Established in 2006
1stDibs seller since 2010
274 sales on 1stDibs
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