Yamagata Household Buddhist Altars
By the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), the number of people travelling to and from Kyoto had increased because of the trade in such crops as safflower from Yamagata. As a result, Buddhist altar culture found its way into the area. Some craftsmen went to distant Edo (Tokyo) to learn carving skills and began working on such things as transoms and other articles related to Buddhism. Subsequently, workers of metal, lacquerers and maki-e decorators began to make household Buddhist altars.
Facings are of zelkova (Zelkova serrata) or sen (Kalopanax septemlobus) which are lacquered to bring out their grain and to give them a warmth. The kuden or inner sanctuary with its bracket assemblies has a heart-warming beauty. The fittings, which are inlaid with arabesque patterns on black, are grand within a composed setting, and the carvings of dragons and heavenly beings have a glittering splendor. There are now 115 firms employing 262 staff, among which there are 22 government recognized Master Craftsmen.
- Yamagata Household Buddhist Altar Association
- 8-11 Matsumi-cho,
Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture