Large copper hibachi
Japan, Showa period, dated 1937
A large copper hibachi of drum (taiko) form with two ring handles to the sides and with two rows of studs to the body. The inscription on the side reads: Collection of Soga Motofusa the wine merchant. Made on 13th February, Showa 12 (1937).
The hibachi, literally meaning ‘fire bowl’, was used in traditional Japanese households mostly for heating and sometimes for boiling water. The copper-lined, heatproof container was designed to hold burning charcoal and thus served to heat a room, at the same time it could also be fitted with a small metal grille on which a kettle could be placed to heat water. Although hibachi were originally used exclusively by the samurai classes and aristocrats, their use gradually spread among the general population. Most traditional hibachi are executed either in natural wood or are covered in black or brown lacquer.