Wakasa Agate Work
Wakasa now stands in present-day Fukui Prefecture. One of the old villages of Wakasa was called Onyu and it was this area that was served by the main shrine of the province. Back in the Nara period (710-794), a sea-faring people known as the Wanizoku, who made jade the object of their faith, came to the area and built what was called the Wani-kaido, a road in front of the shrine. Here they started making jade objects and Wakasa agate work is said to have begun at this time. In the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), a technique to enhance the color of agate by heating it was perfected and by the 19th century, a range of cutting and shaping techniques were added.
Agate is a semi-transparent type of quartz with markings similar to annual rings. The same people who noticed that it turned a wonderful color when heated to between 200-300°C, perfected the firing techniques that are now so special to Wakasa agate work. Being an extremely hard stone, a great deal of time is taken over cutting and polishing the stone in order to create lovely animals, Buddhist statues, censers, sake cups and all kinds of personal ornaments. There are now 5 firms employing 8 people.
- Wakasa Agate Work Association
- 73-28, Tojiki,
Obama, Fukui Prefecture
Website : http://wakasa-koubou.com/