JAPANESE ANTIQUE step chests
Kaidan dansu, literally a cabinet that functioned as stairs- has a long and varied history dating back at least to 1700. It is a design unique to Japan and an ingenious solution to storage need and second story access. The first areas to have common second story buildings were the merchant and geisha districts of Kyoto and Osaka. Thus the first documented or illustrated kaidan dansu come from woodblock print books from the Kansai vicinity inclusive of these cities. Kaidan dansu often exhibit two stacking sections and were built for specific spaces in machiya- a home and business under one roof- where space was at a premium.