NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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大阪泉州桐箪笥 Osaka-sensyuu-kiri-dansu Senshu Paulowina Chests

Jp En

According to a historical record, the making of chests in the Senshu region (the southern part of Osaka Pref.) started as early as 300 years ago. In the early days boxes and simple cabinetry items were made of cork tree (Phellodendron japonicum) and paulownia that were locally obtained. From the late Edo period to the Meiji period a large producing district was formed firstly around the city of Sakai and it gradually expanded all over the Enshu region. The feature of this craft is that the straight grain of paulownia is exploited and wooden pegs and joints are used in assembly. The material boards are fully air-dried for one or two years to prevent impurities from appearing on the wood surface. Paulownia boards of more than 20 mm thick are used, and for the front of the drawers the boards with clear straight grains are selected. The wood surface is then scrubbed and polished to improve the appearance. The paulownia chest is very durable, so if it is treated carefully especially with damp, it should last for 100 to 150 years. Most of the chests are made to order now.
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三国箪笥 Mikuni-tansu Mikuni Dansu

Jp En

Mikuni Dansu is a handicraft of Mikuni-machi, Fukui Pref.. It is a solid and
dignified chest coated with red Shunkei lacquer and reinforced with
brilliant black iron. The chest was first made in the late Edo period in the
collaboration of woodcraftsmen, metal workmen, and lacquerers. The town of
Mikuni on Mikuni Bay was once a prosperous port town, where people could get
everything needed for daily life including clothing or food brought in from
Kansai area. The town was also a production place of daily necessities,
which led to encouragement of excellent handicraft skills in this town.
These various ornamental chests with iron hardware forged and worked by hand
have the gloss of lacquer that has not faded for over 100 years. The
beautiful design combined with practicability is the pledge of the pride
taken by the excellent craftsmen having reached the top of their profession.
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加茂桐箪笥 Kamo-kiritansu Kamo Paulowina Chests

Jp En

Kamo City, Niigata Pref., called “sho-Kyoto (little Kyoto) of Echigo”, is located in the central part of Niigata Pref. It shows sober atmosphere that reminds us of the historic city of Kyoto. Being on the Kamo River that flows into the Shinano River and the Agano River, the city has been a traffic hinge of this region and flourished as a lumber distribution center. The city also has been closely tied with Kyoto and the making of Kamo Paulowina Chests started at around the same time when silk textile industry was introduced. Its history dates back to Tennmei era in the Edo period (about 200 years ago), when Shoemon Maruya, a carpenter, first made the chest out of Japanese cedar timber. The paulowina chest is characterized by its damp proof, fire resistive and mothproof properties. Paulowina is light in weight and rarely distorts, expands or contracts, so that it long keeps the original beautiful shape. This excellent property together with beautiful grain and warmth of wood has been fascinating people for 200 years. Kamo Paulowina Chest was specified as the Traditional Craft Product by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 1976.
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ふすま Fusuma Fusuma (sliding door)

Jp En

Fusuma developed out of the furnishings including kichou (curtained screen), tsuitate (single panel screen), byobu (folding panel screens), and akari-shoji (a translucent screen) of Shinden-zukuri (the style of aristocratic mansions) around the 8th and 9th Centuries. In the 11th Century when Yamato-e (Japanese Painting) flourished, painters began to paint their pictures on fusumas, and the noblemen favored them to decorate their houses. This way decorative function was added to fusuma, which was originally for cold protection. In the Azuchi-Momoyama period (16th Century) when Shoin-zukuri (the style of warrior residences) was established, fusuma became the media for Japanese painting. Famous painters competed to paint on fusuma in castles and temples. In the Edo period, when Sukiya-zukuri (a country house for the samurai class) style was popular, fusuma became popular among townspeople. Pictures on fusuma also changed from gorgeous ones to plain and simple ones. In the present days, a wide variety of fusuma is loved by people, from expensive fusuma that hyogu-shi (screen makers) makes to casual ones of wallpaper type.
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