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JAPANESE TOBACCO POUCH, OJIME AND PIPE CASE: leather pouch (12.2 centimeters wide) with gold foil, also applied to stamped rooster/hen ornament, which has a metal backing plate that acts as the catch for a snap fastener.

Japanese Tobacco Pouch Ornaments

metal arts



During the sixth century of feudal Japan, kimonos were introduced. Because this attire lacked pockets, craftsmen designed sagemono, which included inro and tobacco pouches, in which men carried their smoking materials, writing implements and other small necessities. Netsukes or toggles and slides called ojime, allowed these accessories to be slung over sashes worn at the waist. Interestingly, even though their jackets had pockets, Chinese peasants and middle class men also used toggles to carry their tobacco pouches.

Japanese sumptuary laws limited what craftspeople and merchants could wear, so they compensated by lavishing attention on the decorative details of their inro and tobacco accessories. Made of leather, and adorned with small metal ornaments, the tobacco pouches featured two grommeted holes at the back for attaching ojime, which was then tied to the wood or bamboo case that held the slender kiseru pipe.



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