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The Edo period (1615-1868) was the era of the merchant. The political consolidation under the Tokugawa shogunate offered the country a rare peace lasting more than 200 years. A unified country, albeit in isolation, bolstered economic growth on national and local levels. The businessman, relegated to the lowest social position effectively used these opportunities to enrich and empower themselves. Merchant's chests constituted a myriad of designs, but when we think of a specific tansu and daily business affairs we think of the stout account book chest. These were the repositories of documents, money, seals, abacus, as well as tea wares. A range of styles exists (usually associated with specific towns: Sakai, Matsumoto...) but the designs are similar: multiple compartments with doors and drawers in a chest about 30 inches in height and width. Some with decorative lockplates in the shape of moneybags... some with the design simplicity of the best Shaker furniture.