Mikawa Household Buddhist Altars
Mikawa Butsudan date back to the middle of the 18th century. It was then that a certain altar maker made an altar using good pine, cedar and cypress that was brought down the Yasakugawa river and finished his work using natural lacquer tapped from trees at the foot of Mt. Sarunage in the north of Mikawa.
Kyoto Art Dolls
It is though that dolls were first made in the belief that any evil that might affect a child would instead afflict the doll. As time went by such dolls as amagatsu and houko evolved into what became the prototype of hina dolls with which children of imperial and noble families played during the Heian period (794-1185).
Satsuma was one of the old provinces occupying what is now the western part of Kagoshima Prefecture at the southern end of Kyushu. Forces from Satsuma invaded Ryukyu in 1609 and the compulsory weaving of Yaeyama Jofu to pay a poll tax that was levied, in turn led to an improvement of techniques.
Ryukyu Bingata Dyeing
The origins of Ryukyu Bingata dyeing can be traced back to the middle of the 15th century, when King Shoen was on the thrown. The court gave its unfailing patronage to the craft and according to a 1802 chronicle, Ryukyu Bingata was called a "floral cloth of the east" and was highly regarded at the market in Fuchien, China.
Hida Shunkei Lacquer Ware
The origins of this distinctive lacquer ware were the result of a chance discovery. At the beginning of the 17th century, a head carpenter who worked on the building of temples and shrines in the castle town of Takayama, was surprised to find that when he literally peeled a piece of sawara cypress apart, it produced an interesting textural effect. He made it up into a tray and lightly lacquered the surfaces.
Murakami Carved and Lacquered Ware
The Murakami area of Niigata Prefecture has been well known since the Heian period (794-1185) as a natural lacquer producing area. Using this refined sap, Murakami Kibori Tsuishu dates back to the beginning of the 15th century.
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.
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.
The fact that the imperial court was supplied with paper from the province of Inaba (Inshu) is noted in the Engishiki, the Heian period (794-1185) document on official court dealings. By the beginning of the 18th century, the making of Inshu Washi had become centered on two villages and a paper for the exclusive use of the local clan was being produced.
Agano Yaki dates back to the 17th century, when Hosokawa Tadaoki, who became the feudal lord of the Kokura clan in 1602, invited a Korean potter to come to Japan and had members of his clan construct a noborigama--one of the famous ""climbing kilns--in Agano.
Suzuka Sumi Ink Sticks
The making of ink sticks here is said to have begun at the end of the 8th century, when soot was obtained by burning pine that was cut from the mountains around Suzuka. An animal glue was then added to the soot which was dried and used to make ink.
Boshu Rigid Fans
The making of rigid fans in the Kanto area centered on Edo (Tokyo), began sometime during the Edo period (1600-1868), when the nearby province of Boshu was producing quantities of bamboo for fans. The actual making of what has come to be known as the Boshu rigid fan, however, started sometime toward the end of the 1870s and by 1884, these fans were the biggest selling item produced in the area's Awa county.