The Tansu became popular by the growing demand of the Japanese society needs.
The chest have many styles and there usage is different from each to the other one.
They All have the same purpose and it is to store your goods.
I am sure the image you have of the Japanese chest is the one with may drawers of all size.
This is one of most current Tansu and its the Isho-dansu.
This Tansu was kept in a store house named “Kura”. This store house was made of fire proof material to secure all the Tansu content. This store house was either next the house or a little upper on the street.
At the end of the winter (fuyu) the Tansu was brought back home to exchange the content for the clothes of the ending season. After that the Tansu was brought back to store house until the next season change of clothes.
In the old Japan, it was usage to give a new bride a chest made of a tree planted at her birth. Such a customs have changed these days.
Another image of Japanese Tansu you surely have is the Staircase one and this one is a Kaidan-dansu.
Wood chosen for making Tansu
The Tansu are generally made out of Kiri wood (Paulownia) because it isconsidered the ideal wood for storage furniture.The Paulownia wood repeals insects and it is old Japanese believes to repeal also the fire.
You can also have your tansu made out of Keyaki wood (Zelkova) it is said to be the best hardwood in Japan.It is strong and durable wood.
There is also many other wood species to be use for Tansu making:
- Kuwa (Mulberry tree)
- Hinoki (Cypress wood)
- Sugi (Cryptomeria)
- Hoonoki (Magnolia obovata)
- Toneri (Ash)
- Kaedezai (Maple)
- Sakura (Cherry)
- Shounou (Camphor)
- Kuri (Chestnut)