Hiroshima Household Buddhist Altars
The Jodo Shinshu of Buddhism has found favor among the people in Hiroshima for any hundreds of years. At the beginning of the 17th century a number of artisans skilled in making decorative fittings, braided cords and lacquerers moved into the Hiroshima area from Kishu, and it was their skills that became the foundation of household altar making in this area. Later on, a local monk, Tonko learned much about the making of household altars and Buddhist religious paraphernalia while in Kyoto and Osaka. It was these skills which helped to establish the making of household altars in Hiroshima after he returned. The Meiji period (1868-1912) saw the shipping of altars to many parts of Japan along sea routes through the Inland Sea but everything came to an abrupt stop with the devastation of the Second World War. The traditions of this craft were, however, revived after the war.
One of the things particularly special to Hiroshima household Buddhist altars is the use of oyster shell that are crushed to a fine powder and applied as a ground mixed with lacquer. The top coat and the gilding are equally fine. The overall style of these altars is, however, similar to those made in Osaka. There are now 62 government recognized Master Craftsmen among the 684 staff employed by 62 firms that help to sustain the finery of this craft.
- Hiroshima Religious Ornaments Association
- 1-26 Shintenchi, Naka-ku,
Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture
Website : http://www.kougei.or.jp/hiroshimabutsudan