The People Behind a Masterpiece

In the beginning of 2010 I was surfing eBay auctions when suddenly one of the lots attracted my attention. There was a stunning Japanese cigarette case for sale. Then I didnít know yet it was made in a Nunome Zogan technique, but it was so beautiful, that I was completely amazed and bought it. Thatís how I started collecting Japanese cigarette cases from the Meiji era (and later on from the Taisho and Showa eras as well).

By the time, I realized that there is so little information about these cases, especially their makers, that I started my own research. The purpose of this website is to attribute different Japanese cigarette cases by makerís marks engraved on them and is updated from time to time. At some moment I thought it will be useful to people that have such cases to know a little bit about the artist who created the piece they own, without making a long time research, and I decided to share the information I found so far.

In recent years the website has greatly grown and now includes marks and signatures of more than 450 different makers, examples of more than 1,000 different cigarette cases, a large amount of information about companies and firms produced damascene (but not only) metalworks, production techniques and even short stories about the scenes depicted on the cases themselves. If you have information that is not provided here, it is appreciated if you can share it with me.

Major part of the information on this website is found, classified and organized in collaboration with a jeweller and metalsmith Fred Zweig (USA) and a retired collector of Japanese Meiji applied arts and self taught restorer of patination Chris Penry (UK).