Ichii Itto Bori developed from small beginnings, when a woodcarver named Matsuda Sukenaga used a yew felled from the Hida mountains to make some rather special netsuke that were left uncolored and simply took full advantage of the beautiful grain of this wood. Since then, this craft has always been representative of the woodcarving done in the Hida region.
Making full use of the qualities of the wood as it is, such things as images of the Buddha and small carved animals all bear witness to the skills of the carvers who show terrific attention to detail. The pieces that are sometimes carved from a single tree are particularly impressive but all the items made such as the masks, all manner of animals and figures as well as some fine pieces to be used in the tea ceremony will give year after year of pleasure, if treated with the respect they deserve.
These carvings use the natural beauty of unpainted wood, with skilled use of hammer and chisel to create small animals and Buddhist figures. The small sculptures carved from a single block of wood have a resonating presence.
How to make
Japanese yew wood is dried, and the grain of the yew, the white sapwood on the outer rings of the tree, and the red heartwood in the center of the tree are all considered when cutting a piece for carving, in order to match the shape of the finished product. Carving is done with hand tools such as saws and chisels, and the pieces are finished with chisel marks remaining on the surface and without any additional color coating.