- How and Who makes the traditional crafts in Nara? Let’s see how they work!
- A simple creation by carving a single piece of wood
- Nara lacquer ware showing the splendor of Tenpyo culture.
- Get some traditional Nara crafts for your family and friends.
How and Who makes the traditional crafts in Nara? Let’s see how they work!
There are many opportunities to see the work by the craftsmen of Nara, but there are very few opportunities to meet the actual people who create them. You might wonder how and who creates these works of art, so please visit Nara Craft Museum.
A simple creation by carving a single piece of wood
Ittobori, or a work of art created by carving a single piece of wood, is also called a Nara Ningyo doll. Nara is strongly connected to Buddhism and sculptors of Buddhist images have started making toys. The feature of Ittobori is its simplicity. The dolls are simply carved out of a single piece of wood and designed with some gold foil and mineral pigments. It is known as one of the traditional crafts of Nara. At first I thought that the craftsmen would be 70-year-old seniors, but they were actually 30-year-old men, which surprised me. It’s nice to know that the technique has been passed down through generations.
Nara lacquer ware showing the splendor of Tenpyo culture.
Nara has flourished as the final eastern destination of the silk-road. The influence of the silk road culture can be seen in Nara lacquer ware. During the Nara period (710〜794), splendid patterns were developed called “Tenpyo” patterns, and replicate the shells of Abalones, Yako shells, and Cho shells. Other Techniques like the “Hyomon” and “Kingin-heidatsu” were also commonly used during that period.
I was able to see the shells that show the process of making mother of pearl. It’s rare to see these shells in Nara, because of it’s distance from the ocean. I imagine that these shells were special gifts in Nara at that time. The origin of mother of pearl is in Persia and Greece, which intrigued me.
Get some traditional Nara crafts for your family and friends.
You can buy some souvenirs at the shop inside the museum. They are all made by craftsmen in Nara, and they often represent new techniques and new culture. Take a look at the many kinds of Nara crafts offered and then go choose what you like on Sanjo street or Nara machi. The Nara Craft Museum is free of charge, so go visit and find that special piece of art in Nara!
1−1 Azemamechō, Nara city, Nara Prefecture〒630-8346