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  • 執筆者の写真伝統屋 暁

Wonderful cutting technique of "Kiriko"


Hallo everyone! KONNICHIWA!

I'm the staff of Dentoya Akatsuki who loves traditional techniques!!

Continuing from the last time, I would like to introduce the traditional crafts that I have been interested in recently! Today is "Kiriko".

Even if you don't know the name, you've probably seen a glass. Actually, I have also received it as a gift the other day!

This is Kiriko cut glass. Very beautiful!!!

I tried to find out what kind of history it had and how it was made.

【What is KIRIKO?】

Highly transparent crystal glass with a delicate cut is called "Kiriko".

There are two types of cut glass born in Japan, Edo Kiriko and Satsuma Kiriko.

For those who first came into contact with glass in the late Edo period, the goodness of the sound of Kiriko and its beauty were greeted with surprise.

【History of KIRIKO】

The history of Japanese glass began when a 16th century Portuguese ship was washed ashore on Tanegashima.

The place where glass was first made in Japan was Nagasaki. It started under the influence of foreign cultures, but compared to soda-lime glass, which was the mainstream made in Europe at that time, lead glass was made in Nagasaki.

Lead glass may not be very familiar to you, but you probably know "crystal glass". That's right. It's the finest glass!

In the latter half of the Edo period, "Edo Kiriko" began with a sculpture on the surface of glass with an elaborate design. It was made in Edo, that is, in what is now Tokyo.

After that, the glass technology of Edo was introduced to the Satsuma region, and it became possible to make it there as well, and the two major cut glasses "Edo Kiriko" and "Satsuma Kiriko" were made.

Eventually, many glass craftsmen made items for everyday use one after another, and Kiriko became a work of art loved by the common people.

【Differences between "Edo Kiriko" and "Satsuma Kiriko"】

"Edo Kiriko"

Nowadays, there are many colored items, so it may seem that they are originally colored (actually, I thought so too) but, they were transparent in the Edo period.

When it gets colored, the cut looks more beautiful, isn't it?

For colored glass, use a "covered glass" that is a thin layer of colored glass on transparent glass, and use a polishing machine to make cuts by pressing the glass against it.

As for the design of Edo Kiriko, there are many designs that make use of the curvaceous beauty and have a clean simple pattern.

"Satsuma Kiriko"

Compared to Edo Kiriko, Satsuma Kiriko design is linear, and there are many gorgeous things that combine multiple patterns.

Kiriko making began in the Satsuma area around the time of Shimazu Narioki, the 10th feudal lord of the Satsuma domain.

After that, the 28th feudal lord, Nariakira Shimazu, encouraged research on colored glass to make it one of the industries of the Shimazu feudal clan.

As a result of repeated research, various colors have become possible, but among them, the representative color of "Satsuma Kiriko" is "copper red".

It is the same to use "covered glass" that overlays colored glass on transparent glass, but the colored glass part is thicker than Edo Kiriko.

When scraping the colored glass part, the color gradually becomes transparent as it gets closer to the transparent glass layer below, so an exquisite gradation can be created.

This part called "BOKASHI" (which means shading or gradation) is unique to "Satsuma Kiriko". This technology was born from the investment of large capital by the Satsuma Domain.

After that, the factory was burned down by the Satsuma Rebellion (1877), the last civil war in Japan that broke out in response to the Meiji Restoration, and Satsuma Kiriko drastically declined and disappeared at that time.

However, about 100 years later, there was a move to revive the former Satsuma Kiriko with the cooperation of Kagoshima Prefecture. They also succeeded in the reconstruction of "copper red" and revived to the present age.

It was extremely difficult to develop this color even in modern times.

Recently, they have been focusing on new techniques such as two-color covering, and it seems that it has undergone a new evolution.

There are two major cut glasses, but in fact, only "Edo Kiriko" is designated as a national traditional craft.

Satsuma Kiriko is not designated as a national traditional craft because its technique was once lost and it was made as a purveyor to the Shimazu domain and was not used in daily life.

However, it is designated as a traditional craft of Kagoshima prefecture.

After 100 years, it is finally recovered, so I thought this is a traditional technique that should be inherited.

If you pick up "Edo Kiriko" and "Satsuma Kiriko", you can clearly see the difference.

Edo Kiriko that shines sharply, Satsuma Kiriko that shines fantastically with the effect of "blurring".

Both have a wonderful charm!


We deliver you Japanese genuine skill with warmhearted crafts. We hope that we can continue to help you add color to your life with "tradition" and "craftsmanship".






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