JAPAN TRADITIONAL CRAFT AOYAMA SQUARE
Around Tokyo > Kamakura
The introduction of Zen Buddhism from China during the Kamakura era (1185-1333) brought with it many related arts and crafts. Sculptors of Buddhist images and carpenters who built temples and shrines were influenced by examples of carved lacquerware called tsuishu and tsuikoku that were among these imports from China.
A new style of lacquerware peculiar to Kamakura was developed by these craftsmen, who began lacquering wood carvings. In the early days, they made mostly large containers for burning incense at Zen Buddhist temples, but with the rise in popularity of the tea ceremony at the end of the Muromachi era (1333-1568), their range of products expanded to include items such as tea utensils. However, it was not until the beginning of the Meiji era (1868-1912) that everyday items in started to appear in the Kamakura wood carving style.
Kamakura wood carvings have some special qualities that are not found in other types of lacquerware, including a method by which the three-dimensional appearance of the carving is emphasized by applying a black ink called makomo sumi to the vermilion lacquer. In addition, the bold patterns of the carving are strongly expressed by the unique carving techniques. The distinctive products of this technique include trays, plates, coasters, bowls and boxes of all sizes.