Tradition and Progressiveness, Kimma Technique continues to be sophisticated
Words by Megumi Rokuhara
What is Kagawa Shikki
Kagawa is the smallest prefecture in Japan.
However, they have many traditional crafts, which have predominated in Japan until now.
Kagawa Shikki (Kagawa Lacquer Ware) is one of the most famous handcrafts.
In the early Edo era, 1638, Yorishige Matsudaira became a landlord and was well versed to lacquer and carving. This enhanced the development of the local industry.
There are 4 main techniques to the Kagawa Shikki, which are “Goto”, “Choshitsu”, “Zonsei” and “Kinma”. Shinko Kogei’s specialty is “Kinma”.
-Detailed carving and coloring of Kinma-
Kinma is a lacquering technique in which patterns are carved on black lacquer with a carving knife, called “Ken”. The carvings are then filled in with colored lacquer.
The most typical coloring is red and the combination of black and red is simply beautiful.
There are many carving techniques like point carving, line carving and so on. Carvers distinguish these details by using different types of Ken.
When you see the process of carving, it looks very easy and systematic.
After carving, the object is lacquered again and polished repeatedly for gloss.
-Traditional means Sophisticated over centuries-
A lady in charge of carving for Shinko Kougei has been training several years to gain this technique.
She joined one of the lacquer ware schools (there are only two in Japan) to study and undertake the important role of inheriting this traditional lacquer culture and transmitting it to the next generation.
She told us, “Kinma’s detailed design pattern may be considered traditional, but traditional means that it has been brushed up and has become sophisticated over time.
That is why the design is still outstanding in our current lifestyle”.
Indeed, those detailed patterns never bore us but in fact lead us to be affectionate towards the product.