A rare antique Japanese Edo era Choba Tansu (merchant chest) made of Keyaki (Zelkova), Kurinoki (Chestnut) and Suginoki (Cryptomeria) woods. Sliding doors in front with various small drawers and shelves that originally store merchant documents, books and other store related items.
The merchant chest served two purposes in a business. The first was its basic utilitarian function of serving as a business records storage and safe for keeping money and valuables. The second less obvious functions was its use as a form of business advertising which showed off the success of the store and conveyed a sense of permanence to the business establishment.
There are a number of secrets built into this chest. The first is the interior lower right side set of drawers which is housed in a removable lock box. One of the metal nails along the left side is actually a lift-up handle for a wood locking pin that prevents the top drawer from opening. Once the drawer is opened and removed, a secret box is hidden behind which also requires the wood pin to remove.
When the bottom drawer is removed, a safe box is revealed which can be opened by removing the upper drawer and hidden box revealing a sliding wood bar which lifts up unlocking the safe.
Additionally, two hidden compartments at the top of the tansu can be accessed by finding finger holes within the interior top of the piece and lifting the covers off.
Age: Edo Era (dated 1818) Bunsei Period
Dimensions: 38 1/2″ Wide x 31 1/8″ High x 23″ Deep