Japanese Metal Craft
Having had its foundation laid in antiquity, metal craft using both precious and non precious materials has achieved a high degree of refinement in Japan. This superb quality notwithstanding, metalwork does not enjoy the renown of other Japanese crafts. Yet it is well worth closer consideration as below examples of Japanese metalwork show.
Nambu Cast Ironwork / Nambu Tekki / 南部鉄器
Nambu Tekki initially was started to create pots to heat water for the tea ceremony in Mizusawa and Morioka city in Iwate prefecture. Apart from wind bells and tea pots, sukiyaki pans and some smaller decorative items are still being produced. Many of these products are characterized by the raised spot pattern, the dull luster of the metal, and a feeling of strength and substance.
Tsubame Copperware /Tsubame Tsuiki Doki/燕鎚起銅器
Tsubame Copperware is much loved for its beautiful coloring and marking, as well as its durability. Copper is being heated and formed with a hammer or wooden mallet. Decorations, if any are either beaten into the metal, chased, or inlaid. The surface of the copper is treated in order to avoid oxidation.
Osaka Naniwa Pewter Ware/Osaka Naniwa Suzuki/大阪浪華錫器
Osaka Naniwa Suzuki – Osaka is one of the last locations in Japan producing tin ware, which is said to improve the taste of water and sake rice wine. Designs or motifs are painted on in natural lacquer, which acts as a resist, and then the surface is etched with nitric aced. Lacquer is rubbed into the surface, and final finishing is carried out. Product ranges include jugs, tumblers, coasters, and novelty items.
Tokyo Silversmithery / Tokyo Ginki / 東京銀器
Tokyo Ginki – Tokyo is one of the few places in Japan where silverware is made. The silver is very pure and it is formed by either raising and sinking, in which case the surface is always decorated, or by spinning. Parts are joined by soldering with silver, fusing or riveting. Tokyo Ginki is available for a large range of accessories and household goods.
Kumamoto Metal Inlay/Kumamoto Zogan/熊本象眼
Kumamoto Zogan is a traditional Japanese handcraft with 400 years of history originating from the Kumamoto region. Craftsmen originally developed ornaments for samurai swords and armor and later used these techniques to make day to day objects.