Two Lacquer Hibachi in the Shape of Pumpkins

Bamboo Flower Basket

Meiji period, 19th-20th century

Height: 8 inches, 20 cm
Diameter: 11 1/2 inches, 29 cm

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.