wooden cup of traditional marquetry inlaid below Hakone Yosegi
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|Product origin||made in Japan|
|Production region||Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture|
Inlaid cup mat with traditional Hakone YOSEGI marquetry
Yosegi is a type of Japanese geometric woodworking that originated in the Hakone Mountains in the Edo period.
The patterns are created using different colours of wood for each section. Common colours used in Yosegi patterns are white (spindle trees or llex macropoda), black (aged Katsura), yellow (Picrasma quassioides, mulberry or sumac), brown (camphor and Amur maackia), purple (American black walnut), blue (Japanese cucumber) and red (Chinese cedar).
The wood is cut into oblong stems before being glued to create the pattern, after which thin slices of the pattern are cut and glued onto the boxes. The boxes are then coated with a lacquer to give them a shiny appearance and protect them.
Yosegi-zaiku (寄木細工), or simply yosegi (寄木), is a type of traditional Japanese marquetry that emerged in the late Edo period (1603 - 1867). Yosegi inlay is commonly used on the outer sides of Japanese secret boxes (himitsu-bako), but also decorates many other crafts, such as trays, chests, picture frames and jewellery boxes. Hakone-yosegi-zaiku marquetry, typical of the Hakone region, was created in the late Edo period by a local craftsman, Nihei Ishikawa (1790-1850). The village of Hakone, located about 100 km east of Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture, is particularly famous for its himitsu-bako and marquetry.
The use of Hakone-yosegi-zaiku marquetry to decorate himitsu-bako boxes is late, dating from the Meiji era (1868-1912). The first secret opening boxes, called sikake-bako or tie-bako, are relatively simple and not very decorated. During the 19th century, the combinations of movements of the moving parts became more complex. Around 1870, the master craftsmen Takajiro Ohkawa, Tatsunosuke Okiyama and Kikukawa integrated yosegi-zaiku decoration into the manufacture of these boxes, thus creating the first himitsu-bako of Hakone.
To care for yosegi products, simply polish them with a soft, dry cloth and refrain from exposing them to excessive sunlight, moisture or heat.
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