Japanese Tansu..perfect for vintage treasures

Aug 22, 2008 by

I’m always looking for interesting ways to display my collections and vintage vignettes.  Tansus, which are the cabinets created from the woodworking craft developed in Japan in the 1600s, are a perfect stage.  Imagine how many interesting vintage vignettes you could create on the staggered steps (also known as Step Kaidan Tansu) and within the shelves and open drawers!

Large or small, modern or antique, tansus can fit into a variety of decors.  I also love the chandelier of 1,000 origami paper cranes (which symbolize love and prosperity in marriage) that are hanging in the bottom left photo — so elegant!

Even if you don’t have a Tansu, you can always open drawers on any vintage dresser you have and instantly create layered shelves to display your beautiful treasures!  Be inspired by this Meiji-era photo taken by Felice Beato…even pulling drawers out of dressers and cabinets can give your displays depth and character.

(Photo credit clockwise from top left: Joy Jones Step Chest available at Greentea Design, David Jackson, sara terrell design, and Tansu Style)

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. These are so great! I’ve never seen them before, and I love fun shelving units.

  2. Wow these are soo cool! I’ve never seen those before, so thank you for the introduction!

    And that picture by Felice Beato is really beautiful!

  3. Grace

    I love tansus too! I want one for myself…vintage ones are somewhat hard to find, but I know one is waiting just for me somewhere around the corner. :)

  4. I always inspired by anything Japan, and yes, I want those tansus!

  5. Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search. :)

  6. Thanks for the post. Keep the great work.

  7. The use of vintage treasures does add whimsy to these spaces, andsuch touches also add depth and warmth to the ambience of what might otherwise feel cold and a little austere. I noticed the figural statue of a person in repose near the greenery in that one particular room you mentioned.

  8. It would be so lovely to have a studio or “tree house” like this one. An indoor playground. : )

  9. find out a Stainless metal jewellery vendor that carries a acceptable bare minimum purchase.

  10. I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way

  11. istanbul goodman klima ariza servisi


  1. Stairway to the Weekend! | Poetic Home {pH} Living in Vintage Poetry - [...] how fun Japanese tansus are?  This staircase of fantastic visual delight takes all of it to a whole new…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *