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Another Odd Wood Box

All items101404 of 178799Happy Veterans Day to all!Vintage Cane/Straw Rocking Chair
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Posted 4 years ago


(212 items)

I saw this item at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall and had to take photos to post here to help the mystery item,

This one is also about 18 in square and is dove tailed at the corners. It has a handle on opposite sides, one horizontal and one vertical. It does have some asian print down one side.

I asked the vendor if he knew what it was and was told Rustic Box.

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. gargoylecollector gargoylecollector, 4 years ago
    rustic box,now why didn't we all think of that!lol
  2. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    I thought that was funny too.
    Not sure why the old link didn't work, I'll try again.
  3. gargoylecollector gargoylecollector, 4 years ago
    It works ,just not as easy as the one's we put in the comment section.I've had that problem before.
  4. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    That vendor really knows his stuff, so helpful!
  5. tom61375, 4 years ago
    Now I really want one of these, actually two! Love It! =)
  6. tom61375, 4 years ago
    Hi AzTom, If it is water tight, it looks like a laundry tub. How big was it? Can you share the asking price, just so I know what I am looking at spending? Thank you =)

  7. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Who can translate the characters.
  8. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    It looks like a small hibachi that is missing the insert.

    T A
  9. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    But may just be an Ittomasu Bucket.

    T A
  10. TallCakes TallCakes, 4 years ago
    i.e. antique wooden rice measure
  11. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    TubeAmp or TallCakes, can you provide a source?
  12. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    Bottom of the page:

    T A
  13. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    @ T A Those examples are not shaped like this.
  14. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    And yet that is what it is... Hai.

    T A
  15. TallCakes TallCakes, 4 years ago
    ditto what TA said. there are multiple examples via Google search with matching geometry
  16. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago

    T A
  17. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I saw that one yesterday, it's not that I don't believe you are correct, but it isn't definitive proof.
    If it is a rice measure, then it should be a specific volume, if you look at the measurements of these boxes on Ebay & other sources they all very in size.

  18. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    Yes, correct. The sizes conform to a unit of measurement based on the amount of rice needed to feed someone for a year (Pre-metric) called a Koku the traditional unit of volume equal to 100 sho or about 180.4 liters. I am using the word generically because each size has a different name (??? ichig?masu, c. 0.18L to??? ittomasu, c. 18L) and I am not alone in doing that as the sellers appear to be doing the same. The unit it represents and sometimes the name of the official that certifies the volume were sometimes written on the front. I suspect the iron banding helped to keep it sturdy but more importantly prevented accidental or intentional downsizing of the bucket.
    Even though these old measurement units were officially banned, tradition has kept them around to this day. Sake for example, is often served in the old unit (masu), concrete is delivered in the old measure, and even lumber too.

    Considering the length of time these units were in use, and the fact that so many of these common ways were borrowed from China, as was also the case for many of the countries around China, there will be variation, stylistically speaking.

    T A
  19. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    One has to appreciate the design of this one. Take note that the handles (one vertical, one horizontal) are placed in such a way to make it easy to handle as well as to pour the contents.

    T A
  20. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    The volume of this box wouldn't match any of old Japanese standards.
    As stated this one is about 18 in square, that would give it an apx. measurement of 17 x 17 on the inside. if we assume the height of 18" & the top measurement at 12 x 12. That gives it a volume of 3,822 cubic inches or 62.63 liters & that does not correlate with any of the Japanese volume measurements.

    It doesn't match any of the old Chinese standards either.

    The one in the other link is roughly the same size at the base & height, but the top appears to be roughly 9 x 9
    This gives it an apx. volume of 3138 cubic inches or 51.42 liters
    That is a large variation for a measuring device.
    I agree with you on the design of these in form deserve appreciation. But for it's function I strongly disagree, I've filled, carried & poured thousands of pails of feed & grain & this would not fill, carry or pour easily.
  21. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    While I appreciate how much effort you offer against it being something; would you care to tell us what you think it is? (Sorry, It's not another nitroglycerin carrier, imported from Japan to be used by Chinese railroad workers in the Western Territories of North America).

    For something that has been used for, what, 1600 years, and still used today (more as a nod to the past and not as an certified messure) they have been made to suit the needs of the purchaser--especially for the decorative market. Take Western products in a store. Even if the standard unit is pounds and ounces, or kilograms and grams, not everything is rounded to an exact number because that isn't what is important, what is important is that the unit marked on it ( what ever that may be) is what it holds.

    You are approaching this with Western logic. Nothing wrong with that, but it may cloud how you see the philosophic approach to not only it's utility, (easy for use on a farm? No. Easy for use in a store where the customer must provide their own cloth sack to take it home, yes.) but even the messure itself (Eastern idea of need vs the Western idea of want).

    Asia and Japan in particular, have very interesting ways to do things. From making everything kawaii to upholding traditions just because that's how it was done.

    T A
  22. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    A few more:

    AZTom I hope this helps!

    T A
  23. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    Thank you all for stopping by and the input.
    I think we have it but like walksoft says it's odd that it doesn't match the volume. I did read that they could equal one, two or even more units so I guess any size could be correct as long as it was stamped correctly.
    I don't remember how much this one was but I may have to buy it, kind of surprised I didn't as I like old wooden boxes.

    Feel free to add any new info.
    Thanks for all the Loves!
  24. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    Thanks TA, I did find a few of those. I do believe that this very well could be a rice box. That said, three of those are by the same seller so we really only have two opinions. Also one of the sellers measures it as a diameter??

    The problem is when someone sells an item online that is incorrectly identified, there will soon be others doing the same thing.
  25. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    I get that, but remember these are not forgotten relics from the past as I can buy one new today in the Saki section of my local supermarket. ;)

    T A
  26. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    TA, Really, They sell them shaped like the one I added or the round ones and the large top small bottom square ones?
  27. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    Regardless of what it was used for, NO Asian craftsman would have produced joints that look like they came from a butcher shop.
  28. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    T A I asked you for a source to back up your claim, I was hoping you would provide a scholarly source, or at least an image of it in use. I am always eager to learn something new & if it is a rice measure then great & from Japan even better. However I can't use the information you have provided just because you & the sellers on etsy & ebay say that it is so. If this style of box has been in use for 1600 years, then you should be able to find a better source.
    Just so that we are clear, I'm not saying that you are wrong, I just want to be able to trust what I learn.
  29. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
    Fully understand, but I am not willing to work for free. I give the name, and other non official sources, and it's up to those that want to learn to take it from there. I posted several others to show this isn't a one-off piece, or a backyard prototype.

    I approach it differently if someone posts "I have researched this for ten years with no answers..." Then I will go all out.

    I did provide a hands on museum that has one, but you reject it due to it not looking 100% identical. Enough of the puzzle is solved, take it from there... (If all else fails, read the front!)

    Next time I'm in Japan, I will take some pictures at the field museum where I first saw these.

    Iku y? ni natta,

    T A
  30. Printsid Printsid, 4 years ago
    Very nice

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