Pipe and Pipe Case with Tobacco Pouch

Shibata Zeshin Japanese

Not on view

This elegant lacquer pipe case once hung from its owner’s obi sash, kept in place by the attached netsuke. A fashionable man would have carried a pipe (kiseru), for smoking small servings of finely cut tobacco, in a stylish case (kiseruzutsu) with a matching tobacco pouch (tabako-ire). They served as contemporary fashion accessories and conversation subjects. This two-part case features a maki-e design of wood sorrel, a wildflower similar to clover.

Pipe and Pipe Case with Tobacco Pouch, Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891), Pipe: iron, gold, and silver on wood; case: gold, silver hiramaki‑e on black lacquer; pouch: dyed cotton (sarasa) with metal fitting; netsuke: carved staghorn, Japan

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