Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品

Okazaki Sekkouhin

Okazaki Sekkouhin Photo

The origins of this craft date back to the latter part of the Muromachi period (1391-1573). It was during the following Momoyama period (1573-1600), however, that the lord of Okazaki castle brought in skilled stone masons from Kawachi and Izumi to carry out some improvements to the surrounding town and had stone walls and moats built. As a way of perfecting their skills and techniques these masons carved Kasuga style lanterns and hexagonal flat-topped Yukimi or "snow viewing" lanterns and it was these that became the prototypes for Okazaki's own stone-carving craft. By the beginning of the 19th century there were 29 stone carving workshops and by the end of the same century there were 50. Before World War II at its peak the town boasted 350 workshops, a number which of late has declined somewhat. The principal item made is the stone lantern. They are an intricate composition of both line and surface embodying a simplicity of both linear and curvilinear beauty. To this is added highly skilled decorative carving providing a delicate elegance to this carved stone craft. Pagodas in miniature are also made as are receptacles for water or plants.