Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flea market find - guri tea caddy, I think

Today Justin and I went to the flea market at Hakozaki Shrine, where we've found some fun things ranging from ceramics to World War II propaganda kimonos to the Tanuki of Doom. We weren't looking for anything in particular, but ended up with this little thing when it caught our eye:
The tea caddy, not the book. That's for size perspective.
So what is it? I could be totally wrong about all of this, but here's my guess.

There is a technique called "guri" in lacquerware which consists of layering colors of lacquer, usually black and red, and then cutting through them to make a stripey pattern. See:
Bottom half is gently cleaned by me, top half is as-bought. I hope this helped us get it cheaper.
This technique was used in China as well as in Japan, although the Japanese name guri has won out over the Chinese name tixi. So if this is what I have, is it valuable?

Probably not. According to this forum, the fact that my piece has a blue enamel interior means it's probably a mid-20th century Chinese piece, nothing really old or super valuable. On the other hand, I paid about $20 for it, which I think is perfectly reasonable for a lovely little decorative box which is still technically an antique. I mean, a mass-produced bamboo box at Pier 1 Imports runs you $20 these days. Which is why we also got this cheapy plastic plum lunchbox for $8, even though it's a little scratched:
Plus it had bubble wrap. That kind of fun is worth at least $1.

When you're ignorant like us, you have to buy things based on whether or not you accept the price as written, because heaven only knows if you're getting a deal or not!

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