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

Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu

Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu Photo

Sometime during the 18th century, farmers started making boxes and other simple pieces of cabinetry during slack times of the year, using locally obtained paulownia (Paulownia Sieb. et Zucc.) and cork-tree (Phellodendron Rupr.). This "cottage industry" grew in stature by leaps and bounds after the middle of the 19th century and is still thriving. The traditions of this craft are kept alive by making full use of the quarter-saw boards of the paulownia, which are pieced together using wooden pins and a variety of joints, and then the surfaces are polished and lightly colored. Because the paulownia is air-dried and seasoned for one to two years prior to being made up, impurities tend not to appear on the surface. Solid boards of paulownia in excess of 20 mm thick are used, especially for the drawer fronts and doors. The wood for this is quarter-sawn in order to express the tightly packed grain of the wood and the finishing of these boards is particularly fine and demands a great deal of skill, the techniques of a piece of furniture that, if treated well, should last for a hundred years or more.