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Yamada Glass Works|Beautiful patterns engraved on glass (Edo Kiriko)

Edo Kiriko (“faceted glass from Edo”) is designated as a traditional craft by the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Yamada Glass Works, which has been producing Edo Kiriko for three generations, a total of 80 years, in downtown Tokyo, is one of the few studios that can produce both Edo Kiriko and Hana Kiriko. While preserving the traditional techniques, Yamada Glass Works adds innovative expressions to create unique products.

 

Edo Kiriko, an art of glass handed down from Edo

Edo Kiriko is a traditional craft that incorporates the European technique of glass etching with Japanese techniques and sensibilities. The fine incisions and carvings on the surface of the glass give off a beautiful jewel-like glow when it is illuminated.

Edo Kiriko was first made in the late Edo period around 1834. It is said to have started when Kyubei Kagaya, a glass shop owner in Odenmacho (current Nihonbashi) engraved the surface of glass.

In the Meiji era (1868-1912), the government started to produce Edo Kiriko, and in 1873 a glass factory was established in North Shinagawa. In 1881, a British engineer, Emanuel Hoptman, was invited as an instructor, and various Western-style cutting techniques such as the gravure technique were taught to more than a dozen Japanese. One of them was Eitaro Yamada, the roots of today's Yamada Glass Works.

The traditional techniques learned by Eitaro have been passed on to Tomonobu, the first generation of Yamada Glass Works, to Teruo, the second generation, and now to Masaaki, the third generation.

japan culture art tradition craft product

 

One of the few studios that combine two techniques, Edo Kiriko and Hana Kiriko

One of the characteristics of Yamada Glass Works is the Edo-Hana Kiriko technique. Hana Kiriko is a technique inspired by the gravure technique, in which the surface of the glass is shaved very thinly by using a whetstone like a brush to depict the world of flowers, birds, wind and moon on a frosted glass surface. The beauty of the soft curves of this technique is in contrast to the dignified sharpness of traditional Edo Kiriko, which mainly draws geometric patterns.

Yamada Glass Works is one of the few studios that can make full use of both the Edo Kiriko and Hana Kiriko techniques, and has been boldly challenging innovative approaches in response to the times while handing down the essence of Edo to the present. The spirit of "tradition and innovation" is embodied by the third generation, Masaaki Yamada. His predecessor, Teruo, was a master craftsman who won numerous awards, including the Grand Prize at the Glass Art Exhibition of Japan. His son, Masaaki, is also constantly pursuing new expressions.

On top of traditional geometric patterns, Masaaki specializes in Hana Kiriko depicting animals and plants, and has created original products and collaborative products using different materials. In recognition of his achievements, he has received the Tokyo Challenge Grand Prize for Excellence and many other awards. His works was selected as a gift of the Japanese Pavilion at the Milan Expo, and it is attracting attention from around the world.

 

Edo Kiriko rock glass "Entsunagi," sparkling like a starry sky

japan culture art tradition craft product

Edo Kiriko is characterized by delicate cuts, but "chrysanthemum tsunagi (=connect)" has even finer cuts, and is a typical pattern of Edo Kiriko that requires high skills. The name comes from the many intersecting straight lines look like a chrysanthemum flower, a symbol of immortality.

The design of connecting the chrysanthemums with small balls cut by the "polishing" technique is a unique arrangement of Yamada Glass Works. The continuous pattern of thin lines and small balls is said to be an auspicious pattern representing connection.

When you hold this glass up to the light, you can enjoy its starry sky-like glow. The gradation of green and lapis lazuli colors is so beautiful and will make your evening drink special. Why don't you pour your favorite whiskey and spend a luxurious time?

 

Yamada Glass Works

The studio in downtown Tokyo is one of the few that can make full use of both Edo Kiriko and Hana Kiriko techniques for three generations, a total of 80 years. Based on tradition, innovation, and craft orientation, the studio has been passing on the essence of Edo to the present while boldly taking on innovative initiatives in response to the times.

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