NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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ラルフ・キゲル Ralph Kiggell Ralph Kiggell

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Ralph Kiggell is a British artist who was born in Zambia in 1960. He is a woodblock printer, whose work is strongly influenced by East Asia.

Since he was a child, he had always been interested in Japanese woodblock prints. Works by masters such as HOkusai and Utamaro could be seen periodically in special exhibitions at the British Museum in London.

In 1990, Ralph Kiggell came to Japan to study woodblock printing. He first studied at the Yoshida Hanga Academy in Tokyo under Tsukasa Yoshida, the son of Toshi Yoshida, and the grandson of Hiroshi Yoshida. Later, he learned contemporary woodblock printing techniques at Kyoto Seika University and at Tokyo’s Tama Art University.

Kiggell enjoys the sensitivity of Japanese woodblock printing, because the whole process is carried out by hand using hand-made and natural materials. There is an organic connection from hand to wood to paper. Kiggell thinks that in the digital age that we live in, woodblock printing has particular resonance as an important medium for contemporary artistic expression.
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截金 Kirikane Eri Sayoko's Kirikane Decoration

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'Kirikane' can be written in two different ways in kanji and is sometimes called 'hosogane'. Kirikane is a decorative technique used mostly on Buddhist artworks. The process involves placing several small lines or streaks, triangles, squares and other shaped sheets of gold and silver on the tip of a brush and aligning and pasting them in varying patterns and arrangements.

This technique is thought to have been introduced to Japan in the 6th century along with Buddhism itself. The oldest kirikane decorations can be seen: on the Four Celestial Kings in the main hall of the Horyuji Temple dating to the Asuka period; on the Four Celestial Kings in the sub-temple and ordination hall of the Todaiji Temple; and on the surface of a treasure called the Shinra-koto (a musical instrument) in the Shosoin.

In the Heian period, kirikane flourished as an elegant and majestic art technique for Buddhist art and became the acclaimed and outstanding technique that it is today.

Living National Treasure Eri Sayoko, who was born in 1945, is a kirikane artist and was designated as a holder of this important intangible cultural property in 2002. Her astounding kirikane work, in which she can deftly handle a string of gold leaf thinner than a piece of hair, is simply amazing. It is difficult to believe that her elegant and eloquent designs were done done by hand. This explains why she is so highly acclaimed and respected.
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NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - 日本語に切り替える NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - to english

"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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