|Product origin||made in Japan|
|Production region||Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture|
Yosegi-zaiku (寄 木 細 工), or simply yosegi (寄 木), is a type of traditional Japanese inlay that appeared at the end of the Edo period (1603 - 1867). Yosegi marquetry is commonly used on the exterior faces of Japanese secret boxes (himitsu-bako), but also decorates many other handicrafts, such as trays, chests, picture frames and jewelry boxes.
The Hakone-yosegi-zaiku marquetry, typical of the Hakone region, was created at the end of the Edo period by a local craftsman, Nihei Ishikawa (1790-1850). The village of Hakone, located about a hundred kilometers east of Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture, is particularly famous for its himitsu-bako and marquetry.
The use of the Hakone-yosegi-zaiku marquetry for the decoration of himitsu-bako boxes is late, and dates from the Meiji era (1868-1912). The first boxes with a secret opening, called sikake-bako or tie-bako, were relatively simple and sparsely decorated. During the 19th century, the combinations of movements of moving parts became more complex. Around 1870, master craftsmen Takajiro Ohkawa, Tatsunosuke Okiyama and Kikukawa incorporated the yosegi-zaiku decoration into the manufacture of these boxes, thus creating Hakone's first himitsu-bako.
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