Kaidan-Tansu (Staircase chest)

It was often found in merchants and farmers dwellings. In those days, they were among the few owning a two-storied house. The 'staircase' was used to reach their stock on the upper floor while the 'chest' was used as a storage unit.

Contrary to the isho-dansu, the kaidan-dansu is quite sober as it was designed to merge in the merchant' s house. Generally, it was rather deep in order to make the transport of goods to the next floor easier. The height varied according to its purpose (floor or mezzanine). At present, the kaidan is highly valued by the Japanese furniture amateurs and is among the most expensive one.

 08K-02.jpg Treppenmöbel

Today more than 60% of the kaidan marketed are reproductions. They are mainly made in South Korea. These reproductions are often in 3 parts and are two-sided (which is quite uncommon in the antiques). Moreover, they are less deep (less than 60 cm - more commercial) than the genuine ones. They are also more decorated and have more ironworks. A typical tatami room will be sparsely furnished, sometimes with a tansu, hibachi or a step chest (kaidan dansu), creating a sense of spaciousness and simplicity which are highly valued in a land where space is bought at a premium.
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Roman & Daniela Jost
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This page was last updated March 2015


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