NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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釉裏金彩 Yuuri-kinsai Yurikinsai

Jp En

Yukirinsai is one of the most painstaking pottery techniques. First, the glaze of the base color is applied to the surface of the vessel to be fired. Then gold leaf id applied onto it and it is covered with another layer of the transparent glaze and further fired at higher temperature so that the gold leaf is effectively sandwiched between two layers of glaze.

This adds to the durability of the gold decoration and makes the glitter of gold more contained and elegant. As the beauty of the finished work solely depends on the simple combination of the gold leaf and transparent glaze, careful attention must be paid to the hue of the base color and the layout of the gold leaf. It also requires a highly specialized technique to ensure that the gold leaf doesn't roll up or melt into the glaze during firing.

All these meticulous care comes into fruition of a highly elaborate work with the gold leaf decoration looking as if it emerges up to the surface of the vessel. Although most of the pottery techniques used in Japan were introduced from China, this Yurikinsai technique was invented by the hands of Japanese potters. What covers the glitter of gold may be the Japanese veneration for modesty.
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大塔坪杓子・栗木細工 Ootoutsubo-shakushi・Kuriki-zaiku Chestnut Woodwork, Ototsubo Cooking Spoon

Jp En

Oto Village (presently Oto-cho, Gojo City) in Nara Pref. used to be a village of woodcraftsmen. They were making cooking spoons with which to scoop Cha-gayu (tea gruel), the specialty cuisine of Yamato District. Yoshino District was covered with huge primitive forests and there were plenty of chestnut trees. In the making of Ototsubo cooking spoons, first a chestnut tree is cut in round slices, then, a slice is cut again into a block, which is carved to form a rough shape of a spoon. After that, the inner part of “tubo (the scooping part)” is carved out to form a hollow and the handle part is scarped. This spoon is very durable, and after it is used for some time, the wood takes on brilliant amber color and increases its charm. Although Ototsubo chestnut spoons had been favored because of its durability and water proofing property, the demand rapidly decreased after the World War II and they have been replaced by metal or plastic products. The number of craftsmen decreased accordingly and at the present time, there is only one craftsman, Mr. Kaoru Atarashi, who is engaged in this craft. However, his products were introduced in a woman’s magazine and have been attracted the attention of a certain number of people who love handmade products. Mr. Atarashi has been maintaining the tradition of the craft still now.
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