Kasukabe Paulownia Chests
At the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), craftsmen who had gathered to build the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, took up residence in Kasukabe, an inn town along the old Nikko post road. It is said that these craftsmen were responsible for starting this craft by making cabinets and small articles out of paulownia taken from the surrounding area.
It is possible to gain some idea of where and when production in the area began from a document which was written in the middle of the Edo period, mentioning ten such craftsmen. Further evidence of these early beginning is a paulownia chest dated 1772 on the back that still exists today.
From as far back as the Edo period, these chests have been characterized by their linear design, quiet and simple appearance with no unnecessary decoration, having been fostered by a warrior culture which respected solidity and undecorated elegance. Wardrobes, chest of draws and more traditional chest are being made to the same guidelines today.
From as far back as the Edo period, Kasukabe Kiri Tansu paulownia chests have been characterized by their linear design, quiet and simple appearance with no unnecessary decoration, having been fostered by a warrior culture which respected solidity and undecorated elegance.
How to make
The method of producing the chests is largely divided into the steps of preparing the wood, assembling the body, assembling the various parts, coloring and then setting the metal finishings. To express the full beauty of the paulownia wood, the very soul of Kiri Tansu chests, no shortcuts are taken in the diligent preparation of the boards. After sufficient natural drying, the pure paulownia wooden boards are assembled using a variety of traditional joinery methods to produce a robust and sturdy finished product.