Iiyama Household Buddhist Altars
The making of Buddhist household altars became firmly established in the thriving religious community of Iiyama during the beginning of the 17th century. All of the work was done in the area by different craftsmen and then the whole thing was assembled.
The history of weaving in the Shiozawa area is very long and an example of a linen cloth--now Echigo linen--woven during the Nara period (710-794) is preserved in the Shosoin Repository in Nara. The skills and techniques used to weave this linen cloth were adopted for the weaving of a silk cloth that became Shiozawa Tsumugi and was first woven during the Edo period (1600-1868).
Tokyo Fine-Pattern Dyeing
Although the history of this craft can be traced back to the Muromachi period (1392-1573), it was not until the Edo period (1600-1868) that cloth of this type was produced in any quantity. Stencil-dyed cloths were especially used for the kamishimo, a piece of formal dress worn by the Daimyo. These regional feudal lords were required to reside in Edo for long periods and the resulting increase in demand for this cloth made Edo the center of its production. Originally, it was only the Daimyo and samurai classes who wore garments of this cloth.
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.
Edo Fishing Rods
Edo Wazao have always been made from natural culms (stems) of bamboo and were first made in Edo (Tokyo) in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868). By the end of this era, they had taken on their present-day form and can truly be called works of art. With the sea on their doorstep and some beautiful rivers, too, these rods were a crystallization of research into the needs of those who lived in Edo and loved to fish.
Sakai Forged Blades
Guns and tobacco were introduced into Japan in the middle of the 16th century by the Portuguese. By the end of that century, small tobacco knives were being forged in Sakai and the Tokugawa Shogunate awarded the forgers of Sakai a special seal of approval and guarantee of their quality.
Kishu Lacquer Ware
Wood turners settled in the vicinity of present day Shiga Prefecture during the Muromachi period (1392-1573) and the turbulent times before the end of the 16th century. These craftsmen started making wooden soup bowls using the plentiful supplies of Japanese cypresses (Chamaecyparis Spach) found locally. This led to the production of shibujiwan bowls, which were primed with the tannin-rich juice extracted from persimmons.
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.
Amakusa Pottery and Porcelain
In the old fief of Amakusa on the island of Kyushu, the village headmen encouraged the people throughout the fief to try and support themselves by making pottery and from the early 17th century and on into the 18th century, both pottery and porcelain were being produced in the province.
Large quantities of kaolin were discovered in the area during the 18th century. With the help of the local feudal lord, potters skilled in the making of porcelain from Arita in present-day Saga Prefecture were brought in to help, and the porcelain made in the castle town of Izushi marked the beginnings of this ware. Subsequently, the number of kilns increased in and around this castle town and a production center became established.
Ojiya Ramie Crepe
The history of linen weaving in Ojiya goes back a very long time. A piece of pottery which is thought to have been made at the end of the Jomon period (ca.10000-ca.200 BC) has been discovered bearing the imprint of some woven fabric. Well suited to the climate of Ojiya, woven linen was valued highly and was presented to the Shogun.
The origins of this cloth woven on the Amami islands near Okinawa dates back to the 7th century. It was not until the beginning of the 18th century, however, that the craft took on the guise of an industry and its techniques were subsequently handed on to those working in Kagoshima Prefecture.