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Japanese Orders in Tamatebako Miyake (Boxes for Nobles and Foreigners)


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Sometimes japanese orders can be found in these beautiful and unusual “boxes with tassels”. These are Tamatebako Miyake – Boxes for Court Nobles. They are also known (in the West) as “boxes for foreigners” or “diplomatic boxes”. “Boxes for foreigners” is an inaccurate name for these beauties and “diplomatic boxes” is simply a wrong one. Why? These are not “boxes for foreigners” because members of Imperial House also got their orders in these boxes (as well as “foreigners”). They are not “diplomatic boxes” since all foreigners got their orders in such boxes (diplomats, military men, ministers, professors, etc.)

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“For whom” these boxes were intended is quite clear.

When these boxes were used?

This is really interesting question.

The exact time bounds are not known to me (as well as original regulation for these boxes).

The lower time bound (and quite realistic one) is 1875/1876.

Without any doubt these boxes were in use since November 1888.

The upper time bound is late 20s.

Definitely these boxes were in use (at least) until November 1921.

So the proven time interval (as will be demonstrated a little bit later) is 1888-1921.

Now let see these treasures ;)

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Sacred treasures

Boxes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 8th classes have paulownia leafs at the box lid and inscription at the back of the box cover.

4th, 5th and 6th classes have one paulownia leaf at the box lid with inscription under.

Let`s examine this 1st class ;)

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This "swan" mark has been used in France since 1st July, 1893 and up to 1970.

It was used on silver articles imported into France from countries without Customs Conventions.

Looks like somebody took this breast star to France (somewhere around end of the XIX century) ;)

Edited by JapanX
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