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

Kawatsura Shikki

Kawatsura Shikki Photo

The beginnings of this craft go back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the younger brother of the lord of the fief who ruled this area, ordered the retainers to take up lacquering pieces of armor and weaponry as a job, using locally tapped lacquer and Japanese beech cut from the mountains in the area. The making of bowls began in earnest in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) and by the end of the period work was concentrated on the three districts of Kawatsura in what is now Inakawa-cho, Odate and Minashi and the making of everyday pieces of household goods flourished in what had become a production center. The carcasses of all the pieces are made of wood on to which natural lacquer is applied. There is no one particular feature that characterizes this ware but, because emphasis is placed on the undercoating to produce a very hard finish, it is extremely robust and is also reasonably priced. A wide variety of products are produced ranging from bowls, plates, trays and stacking boxes up to items of furniture.