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.
During the first half of the 18th century, Tokugawa Muneharu was the seventh in the line of leaders of the Owari clan controlling an area centered on present-day Nagoya. It was a time when the culture of the clan was flourishing and craftsmen of many types visited the area from Kyoto and elsewhere. It was then that the techniques of yuzen dyeing were introduced to the area.
Situated on the extreme western boundary of Japan, records show that weaving on Yonaguni Island dates back some 500 years, and cloth was already being paid as a tax during the 1520s. During the difficult times after World War II, fishing nets were unraveled to provide yarn for this cloth, which is still woven by the women, who devote so much time producing this cloth that is very representative of the island's natural environment.
The origins of Shinshu Tsumugi go back to a silk cloth called ashiginu that was woven in the Nara period (710-794). Because of the rivalry and encouragement that the clans in the province of Shinshu were given, sericulture was very popular and the production of pongee throughout the province flourished, and every year large quantities of cloth were dispatched to Kyoto.
Wajima Lacquer Ware
Although the oldest piece of Wajima Nuri is the shunuri-tobira made in the Muromachi period (1392-1573), other items and tools have been found during surveys of archaeological sites that date back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Lacquer ware is therefore known to have been made much earlier. During the Edo period (1600-1868), Wajima Nuri was known for its durability and was being used in the homes of farmers and merchants up and down the country. By the end of the 19th century it was also being used in restaurants and inns and designs gradually became grander and more decorative.
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.
Niigata Shirone Household Buddhist Altars
A specialist, who was responsible for building a temple, introduced various skills and techniques from Kyoto to the area in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) and made Kyoto style household Buddhist altars. He also made a plain wooden altar, carving it in a simple manner himself. This was to be the forerunner of Niigata Shirone Butsudan.
A 9th-century document confirms that the history of Awa Washi goes back some 1,300 years to times when a family known as Inbe serving the Imperial court, was growing flax and paper mulberry and producing cloth and paper.
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.