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tansu step chest

Tansu Step Chest, nineteenth century. Both sides are identical.

The traditional Japanese art of creating functional wooden storage cabinets and chests. It is a highly developed art of woodworking centuries old. Elaborate hardware was often used to strengthen joints and closures to allow mobility. The earliest examples of tansu are large chests on wheels used for storing sleeping futons and linens during the day. Toda inexpensive modern interpretations are available as well as antiques costing many thousands of dollars.

In Tiny Houses, for example, the stairs designed with built-in storage on the side under the stairs in the triangular spandrel and drawers under individual steps are typical of tansu stair chests. Now they are often built-in but as tansu pieces, they were separate pieces of furniture that could be used as a step up to loft space.

Wikipedia: Tansu

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