Saturday, June 2, 2012

A new chabako

Eventually I would like to learn shikishi-date, the most advanced chabako procedure that employs a lidded basket instead of wooden box. Since I can't afford the beautiful sets offered online ($2000 USD), I have been collecting the parts, by adapting or making the things needed (See April 13, 2012 post).

It's difficult in the US to find boxes and baskets in the correct chabako proportions: 6" tall x 5.5 inches wide x 8.5" long, with walls thin enough that a 4.25" diameter teabowl will fit inside.

After many weeks of searching in antique shops, resale shops and online, I finally bought an affordable lidded basket listed as a Chinese lunch basket. Good news: it has great proportions and is in nice condition. Bad news: it has a large wooden handle, is not the desired dark brown color and lacks a brocade fabric lining.

My first thought was to cut the wooden handle off and stain it darker before lining it and adding the correct ribbon closure. However, it was not difficult to take the utensils out with the handle as it is, so I may use it for Unohana-date or Hana-date Chabako until I have the chance to learn the more advanced procedure. (Note, the cord on my brocade shifuku in the picture is not tied as it would be when being presented.)


  1. lovely, esp. for summer with the open weave. what's the picture on top? do they usually have a ribbon or something like the belt for an obi?

  2. The panel on top seems heavy, as if thin slate. The painting is a landscape but the varnish is cracking and has peeled off in places which gives it a sense of age. I think the flat ribbon is made by fine kumihimo braiding.