In the Taisho Era, it was common for women to have a variety of chopsticks and cases. Chopstick cases like these were used to carry a pair of Hibashi (chopsticks used to handle small pieces of hot charcoal) when attending an incense-burning ceremony. During the event, guests would guess which incense was used from its scent. It was a sophisticated game, quite similar to blind wine tastings. Ladies of the Taisho era either chose or ordered a variety of chopsticks and cases. Usually, they would have several sets, in the same way we own several purses and bags to match our different attires.
This red case has that soft glow characteristic of natural dyes. The interior of the case is lined with silk that matches the exterior and provides a bright red accent. The chopsticks held inside are of impeccable quality. This can be felt immediately when they are held and maneuvered. The chopsticks collapse and extend smoothly, made to be easily used and stored, still functioning perfectly after over a century.
Its excellent condition is a testament to its previous owner’s care. While its usage in the incense-burning ceremony is something of the past, its beautiful design and excellent engineering stand unaffected by the test of time.