Ishikawa Prefecture was once ruled by the Kaga Clan, known as a “Hyakumangoku” clan or one million“Koku”clan. Koku was a measure of the domain’s production and the Kaga clan’s Hyakumangoku ranking indicated the extreme wealth of the region. Kanazawa Paulownia Woodwork, with its distinctly flamboyant design, has been produced in the region since the era of the Kaga clan.
Kanazawa Paulownia woodwork is unique-to-the-region. It combines the high quality Paulownia wood, which thrives in the region due to the heavy snowfall each year, and the Makie lacquer technique, a craft promoted by Maeda Oshitsune, the third lord of the Kaga clan.
While a more common Paulownia features a white chest of drawers, Kanezawa’s chests of drawers are different. Their surface is first burnt and polished to create a characteristic burnt look, then Makie lacquer is applied. The lightness of Paulownia wood and distinctive tone of its color result in woodwork that is truly original.
In the Meiji period, Shouku Oogaki, regarded as a great master of Kaga Makie, developed the technique of applying Makie lacquer to the Paulownia Hibachi, a charcoal brazier. These gained popularity all over Japan and greatly increased the desire for Kanazawa Paulownia woodwork nationwide.
In the Ishikawa prefecture, the Paulownia Hibachi became a necessary household article for new brides. Paulownia Hibachis were regarded as essential for heating in the winter and they were once widely used all over Japan.
- Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0000
- Kanazawa Paulownia Woodwork