Handbook for the Appreciation of Kirikane

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Handbook for the Appreciation of Kirikane

Message par Tsubo » 15 Septembre 2022, 12:37

Handbook for the Appreciation of Japanese Traditional Crafts by the Japan Kōgei Association

Kirikane (cut gold) has a long tradition that dates back to the Heian period (794-1185). Used principally in the decoration of Buddhist paintings and sculptures, it involves the application of multiple layers of extremely thin gold and silver foil to an underlying substrate. Kirikane flourished in particular during the middle to late Heian and Kamakura (1185-1336) periods, but declined from the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573) onwards. Its techniques were subsequently preserved only in the Higashi-Honganji and Nishi-Honganji Temples in Kyoto. Nowadays, kirikane has become an established craft, with artists making use of fine foils to create delicate but opulent designs in which geometric patterning is combined with straight and curved lines.
The gold and silver foil is prepared by being hammered out to a thickness of less than 1 micron (1/1000 mm). Being so thin, it tears and wrinkles very easily and has to be handled with extreme care. Tweezers and knives made of bamboo are used to cut the foil into fine lines, squares, rectangles or circles on a stand covered with buckskin. The designs thus created retain their distinctive beauty and lustre for generations.