The origins of Iwayado Tansu date back to the end of the 18th century, when the custodian of Iwayado castle had his retainers look into the commercial possibilities of such pieces of wooden furniture as chests with lids and others riding on palettes fitted with wheels.
Kyoto Fine-Pattern Dyeing
Kyo Komon dates back more than 1,200 years, when the all-essential stencil papers were first made.
Kyoto Kanoko Shibori
Shaped resist tie-dyeing, or shibori has been carried out for over a thousand years in Japan and was used for the patterns on court dress. It is known as kanoko shibori, or literally "fawn spot tie-dyeing" because of its resemblance to the spots on a young fawn.
Kyoto Round Fans
Kyo Uchiwa go back to the period in Japanese history known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (1333-92). It is said that round fans from Korea were brought back to western Japan by wako, Japanese pirates who were constantly raiding the coast of Ming dynasty China and Korea at the time. These imported fans then found their way up through the Kishu to Nara and then onto Fukakusa where aristocrats from Kyoto had their country villas.
When the head of the Tokushima fief ordained that porcelain in the style of Nanking and Karatsu Yaki should be produced in 1780, craftsman were brought in from the island of Kyushu, a kiln was built and production began.
The roots of this craft go back to Hayashi Matashichi. With the support of the local feudal lord Hosokawa and his family, Hayashi was doing inlaid metal work on firearms and sword guards during the first half of the 17th century. Subsequently, as this craft became established, fine Higo sword guards were produced by generation after generation of the Hayashi family as well as by other families such as the Hiratas, Nishigakis, Shimizus and Kamiyoshis right through the Edo period (1600-1868), and many pieces of their work are still in existence. When the carrying of swords was outlawed in 1876, the Higo craftsmen turned their hand to decorative work and began making everyday items in line with the new social conditions.
The origins of the Ogatsu Suzuri can be traced back to the Muromachi period (1392-1573). Then, at the beginning of the 17th century, two inkstones were presented to the military commander, Date Masamune, who was on a deer hunt on Toojima, an island off the Ojika Peninsular. It seems that he was highly delighted with the stones and reciprocated generously.
Closely linked with the spread of Buddhism in the area, embroidery was introduced to the province of Kaga from Kyoto in the Muromachi period (1392-1573) and was used for the decoration of such religious trappings as altar cloths and surplice worn by monks.
Written during the Nara period (710-794), reference is made to papers from this area in such ancient documents to be found in the Shosoin Repository in Nara. Further evidence of the long history of Etchu Washi can also be found in the Heian period (794-1185) document on court protocol, the Engishiki, in which it is recorded that paper was used to pay taxes.
Echizen Yaki ranks among Japan's six old kilns and therefore has a history dating back many centuries. First fired toward the end of the Heian period (794-1185), upward of 200 old kilns sites have been discovered in the area to date. It was in these massive old kilns that all manner of everyday articles such as pots, jars, mortars, flasks, and jars in which to keep a black tooth dye fashionable at the time were fired.
There are many stories about the origin of this craft, but it is known to date back to the mid-17th century.
Hidehira Lacquer Ware
This lacquer craft really began when Ohshu Fujiwara wielded power over Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture toward the end of the Heian period (794-1185). It was he who lent this support to the building of the temple, Chusonji with its famous Konjikido and many fine pieces of Buddhist art in general.