December 30, 2012

Stroll in November, Treasure from Antique Market

The antique market held in Kyoto every month is my destination for the last fewyears. Going there and strolling among antique dealers have been such a treasure to me. In the end of November, I visited the market held in Toji temple but couldn't take a lot of photos this time as I knew I had to find what I wanted which could be very big and heavy for me to carry it around and didn't have any allowance of taking photos. I will show you the atmosphere of this market later with my limited photos! Anyway, I was excited to see if I could find what I wanted.
If you like going to antique markets or flee markets near you or even far from you, you might know what you want or something in your mind to look for. It's so fascinating to look around, ask numerous questions about history of thier collections to dealers who are mostly older generations, and negotiate prices. Then if you could finally find the one, you would have the "Oh, such a destiny! I should take this home with me" kind of moment.
I felt exactly that way on the warm day in Kyoto last month. I was looking for an old basin ("tarai" in Japanese) for a while. Every time I go to the Toji market, I looked and looked every little shop but couldn't find the one with a perfect size and a pretty good contition.
Why did I want a basin? What is an old basin used for? These were the questions I was asked by dealers I talked to at the market. Dealers were so curious and I told them that I want an old basin as a side table by putting a round glass on the top of it! I have been inspired by one of the cafes I like to go to where their tables are made by scrap wood. They cut glasses in round and simply put them on each table. Their scrap-wood tables don't have a hole inside like a basin, though.
So I was so inspired by thier idea. And with even more better way (I should say), I wanted a basin with a scoop inside so that anything can be inside a basin covered by a glass lid.
This particular basin was originally a gift from someone whose name was written on the botom of the basin. The address was also visible next to the name and the year that this basin was sent says "Syowa period, 4th year (1929)". This makes the basin 83 years old; however, the basin doesn't look that old as it shines beautifully and there are not so many visible stains or imperfect flaws.
I happily carried this huge and heavy basin (90cm diameter) by train. And I bought these three old bowls having tiny cracks on sides, which I will repair them later. I need to ask a glass shop to cut a glass in round for the basin as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, I would used the basin as a table like shown below by putting the basin upside down, which makes it another way of use as a side table. Not so bad even without a glass lid?


  1. Wow, what's a remembrance memory of TARAI! When I was very young, I used it for bath. Yes, it was old days...My dad was born in 1930 and it's almost the same age. Let's celebrate for long life!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Yes, "tarai" is so familiar among Japanese and its culture. I used to remembered that my great grandmother washed her clothes in tarai!

      This tarai looks as great as your dad! I wish your dad be healthy and being well:-)


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