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Tonkotsu (36)

Tobacco box with a pipe holder and pipe
Wood, bone, brass and silver
Edo period, 19th century
W.: 22 cm (pipe case) – H.: 10 cm (figure box)

Tonkotsu means “pig bone” in Japanese. It may seem odd that the tobacco boxes were so named, but the pipe holder (kiseruzutsu) was often made of pig bones. Later, the box and the accessories all together came to be called tonkotsu even though they were not made of pig bones. The design of the pipe holder is a mushroom. It is amusing that the figure on the box appears to enjoy himself hanging the ropes.

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