While being far from a typical mailbox, this beautiful paulownia product is indubitably a Mail Box in two senses: It is a box in which to keep treasured letters and postcards, and the box itself is shaped like an envelope. The Mail Box comes in various sizes.
This item is part of the Hitotoki (Good Woods) product line from Alte Meister, a maker of Buddhist altars and related goods. While a wide variety of beautiful wood is used to make Buddhist altars, the manufacturing process inevitably generates offcuts. Previously, offcuts were burned in furnaces that helped to dry timber. The Hitotoki line was created to make better use of offcuts.
Each item in the Hitotoki collection draws attention to the sensual appeal of different kinds of wood. The Mail Box is made from paulownia, which is traditionally used in Japan for storing kimono. In humid conditions it expands to seal out moisture; in dry conditions it shrinks to allow ventilation in. As paulownia transmits heat poorly, it is also said to protect items from fire.