Wallet
Deerskin outer, cotton lining
Smoked, thread resist

Deerskin was typically dyed by a smoking process. Based on its golden brown color, this well worn wallet was probably dyed with pine needle smoke. The leather would be bound to a large roller suspended by chains at each end over an oven. The roller would be rotated on the chains so the color would dye evenly. Designs might be achieved by stencils, shibori, paste resist, or thread resist. The very fine lines on this wallet, slightly larger than a modern business card case, were probably achieved with thread resist and an additional method. This was almost certainly the property of a member of the military aristocracy, for whom the rhinoceros beetle (called helmet beetle in Japanese) clasp would be appropriate. The design on the leather is called uzura, or quail.

The interior appears to be lined in striped Indian or Indian-style cotton, a highly prized luxury material which the Japanese learned to imitate. The wallet is full of what may be tooth picks, one of which is shown here. All have one sharpened point and one blunt point.

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