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Kanto naga-hibachi

Display: Global Gastronomy
Culinary Technique: fuel conservation

Date: 20th Century

Location: Japan

Dimensions: 14" h x 26" w x 14" d

A portable form of the traditional hearth in a Japanese home, the hibachi heated a room and was used to warm sake, prepare tea for guests, or cook small meals. The carefully crafted wooden cabinet is fitted with five drawers, inset side carrying handles, and a copper well filled with sand and burning embers or charcoal. Drawers kept hand tools, tea leaves, cups, tobacco, napkins, or dry food. The side ledge served as a table or held the wooden trivet. Wood charcoals that emitted little smoke were burned for boiling water for tea or for cooking. Oil, gas, or electrical heaters gradually replaced such hibachis, which were used in aristocratic Japanese homes since the 18th century, persisting until the 1970s in rural households.


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