What is Bonbonniere?
Bonbonnieres are beautiful miniature boxes that are born exclusively
from the Japanese Imperial tradition. They are provided as memorial
gifts to special guests who are invited to celebratory Imperial
events such as the enthronement of the Emperor or the marriage
and birth of a child in the Imperial Family. Originally the boxes
were filled with tiny sweets to enhance the joyousness of the
occasion and that is where the name bonbonniere (French word for
containers') derives from. They first came into use in the Japanese
Imperial household around the late 19th century and the custom
is still exercised today.
The spectacular forms and designs of bonbonnieres are based
on auspicious subject matters, traditional objects related to
Imperial tradition, theme of the event or a combination of these.
Some may even include symbols that are unique to each of the
Imperial family member. Additionally, the bonbonnieres' aesthetic
often highlighted with a 16-petalled chrysanthemum Imperial family
crest or crests of other nobles. While most of the bonbonnieres
are made of silver, there are few examples that are made of lacquer,
wood or ceramics.
Because bonbonnieres are produced in limited numbers and occasions,
they are rarely seen in the outside world.