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

Kasukabe Kiri Tansu

Kasukabe Kiri Tansu Photo

At the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), craftsmen who had gathered to build the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, took up residence in Kasukabe, an inn town along the old Nikko post road. It is said that these craftsmen were responsible for starting this craft by making cabinets and small articles out of paulownia taken from the surrounding area. It is possible to gain some idea of where and when production in the area began from a document which was written in the middle of the Edo period, mentioning ten such craftsmen. Further evidence of these early beginning is a paulownia chest dated 1772 on the back that still exists today. From as far back as the Edo period, these chests have been characterized by their linear design, quiet and simple appearance with no unnecessary decoration, having been fostered by a warrior culture which respected solidity and undecorated elegance. Wardrobes, chest of draws and more traditional chest are being made to the same guidelines today.