Memaparkan catatan dengan label Japan. Papar semua catatan
Memaparkan catatan dengan label Japan. Papar semua catatan

Jumaat, 20 April 2018

Beautiful Art, Japanese Lacquerware

Stationery Box in Kōdaiji style from Momoyama period (1573-1615). - Photo by:

Lacquareware is produced in several areas in Asian countries, especially China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar and maybe a few others. The origin of this art might start from China then spread into many other countries. Lacquerware has beautiful shiny finishes that resemble porcelain products that also originated from China.

The beautiful of lacquerware start from the beginning of the process that requires the layer of lacquer to be applied over and over again and the curing process that take several days to weeks. The total time to complete one product might take several months to years.

While in Japan the usage of lacquer (in Yayoi era) was so extensive from basket, farming tools, fishing gear, in many other materials - in order to protect these materials from damage easily. Then the usage of lacquer evolved as a craft during the Asuka period. The transformation was influenced by the Chinese arts that transferred to Japan. There were large amounts of lacquer were required during that period, that requires the amount of lacquer harvested to be controlled.

Old Chinese lacquerware from Ming dynasty, Wanli era (1573-1620). - Photo by:

One of Maki-e motifs. - Photo by:  Pqks758

Another antique stacking boxes with Maki-e. - Photo by: 

The advancement of the craft not limited to just painting and scraping, but also the usage of other materials such as ‘mother of pearls’, brass, copper, lead, silver, platinum and gold. Here in Japan the usage of the valuable metals is more popular and known as Maki-e (蒔絵, literally: sprinkled picture).
This technique was developed during the Heian period (794 – 1185) and became popular during the Edo period (1603–1868). This technique requires high skill, craftsmanship – that most of the young artists will go through many years to produce high quality arts with this technique.

There are many other techniques for Japanese lacquerware, but the Maki-e was considered one of the best technique mastered by Japan. Other than the technique, the motifs and the shapes of the materials that produced from Japanese craftsman also presenting the authenticate designs.

Even though we can still find the Japanese Maki-e lacquer products, the price can be expensive – most of it is antique products. The time intensive works to produce this art might be one of the reasons why not many artisan works on it.

Here I will include few videos related to Japanese Lacquerware works and arts in order to help you understand more on this topic.

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Jumaat, 8 Disember 2017

How Koi Become So Expensive?

Colourful Koi in the pond.

Koi one of the most expensive fish in the world. Maybe not all of us aware about it, however the most expensive koi ever sold worth 2.2 million dollars in today’s money! Keeping koi is not an easy job, while breeding koi will be twice as hard. If you ever wonder, how this fish become so expensive?

Like many other expensive pets, koi with high values are not originally from the wild species. They actually specially breed for certain qualities to meet few standards in koi classifications. Koi or also known as “nishikigoi”, are coloured varieties of Amur carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus) that specifically breed for decorative purposes. Koi are distinguished by its colouration, patterns, and scales. Their beautiful colours varies from white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream. One of the most popular koi known as Gonsake, which is the mixed of Kohaku, Taisho Sanshoku, and Showa Sanshoku varieties.

Kohaku - the most famous type of Koi.

Bekko - yellow koi with black markings.

Kinginrin - metallic colour scales types or known as "gold and silver scales". 

Koi is actually the carp species originated from Central Europe and Asia. However they had been domesticated to produced natural colour mutation for decorative purposes in China more than thousand years ago, and spread to all other part of the world. Today Koi more popular in Japan and there are koi enthusiast almost in many countries with Koi competition every year.

To produce beautiful Koi, its need to be carefully breed. In the wild Koi will quickly revert to its natural colouration within few generation. That’s why, beautiful Koi, only can be achieved through selective breeding by professional breeders. Anyway, no one can tell how the final result can be, it still depend on small probability for the breeders to get the right combination from the breeding process.
Koi farm in Niigata, Japan.

Shōwa Sanshoku (or Showa Sanke) - the black koi with red and white markings.

Some of the Koi Types.

There are few classifications to differentiate the Koi qualities such as colours, size and body shapes, and pattern. There also many varieties produced every year that widen the competition criteria.

There are many things to learn if you are interest to keep Koi as pet, especially if you have intention to compete in Koi competition. Even though carp is generally easy to keep, but it’s different for Koi. Perhaps we can see more details about this wonderful fish in the next articles.

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Jumaat, 2 Disember 2016

Kirikane, Japanese Fine Art Made of Gold

Kehalusan seni "Kirikane" diterapkan pada pinggan kaca ini.
Kirikane (截金), the Japanese art using thin sheet of gold pieces that are rarely heard. This art brought from outside of Alexandria is said to come as part of ancient Egypt around the 3rd century BC. But this art in Japan was brought from China as part of Buddhist art decorations for statues and paintings.

Maybe you have not heard about it because in Japan this art is re-introduced since Kirikane got less attention previously. Kirikane art is not easy to master by everyone because it is not only uses materials such as gold, silver and platinum, but the pieces of precious metals that are used are very thin and difficult to handle without skill and patience.

This art was brought to Japan from China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and examples can still be seen to this day such as Tamamushino Zushi at Horyuji Temple. This art is very popular around the 11th century up to 14. It was then almost disappeared due to the lack of decoration of Buddhist art in Japan.

Best applied Kirikane techniques.
Ball container with Kirikane.

Akane Yamamoto expressing Kirikane through art glass.
Today this art is given a new style, although some still retained its original art on a small scale. Through the efforts of activists of the new generation of Japanese art, Kirikane been used for larger media covers wider range of decorations. Among the famous Kirikane artists is Akane Yamamoto, one of successful artist who bring back Kirikane globally with "Kirikane Glass" she'd produced.

Although Akane using new media in the production of "Kirikane Glass" design, she still displays the characteristics of original Kirikane through traditional pieces of sheet metal that is used, it is the fine shapes of lines, diamonds, triangles, squares and geometric as on the classic Kirikane. Anyway, with the use of glass, Akane highlights this art through deeper dimension.

Beside her, the other artists are also using Kirikane according to their inclination for this art can be used with various media. Just Kirikane art has a distinctive shape that can be observed easily through the piece of sheet metal that it’s used.

The classical usage of Kirikane in Buddhist Art.
It can also be used on many other items.

Wooden box decorated with Kirikane.
This art needs to be done with high accuracy as the precious metal pieces used very thin. It requires very careful handling to ensure that the work done to produce a final result as desired.

  • Usually two types of metal sheets used in the decoration consist of gold, silver and platinum. These plates have to undergo a heating process (with its own technique) to attach to one another to increase thickness.
  • These pieces will be cut using a bamboo knife (metal blade cannot be used) over cutting board that covered with buckskin - to produce a good cutting.
  • It subsequently attached using adhesive (from seaweed, funori and ' hide glue ', Mikawa) on items to be decorated with Kirikane.


Looking at the results of the Kirikane, then you will definitely agree that it should be preserved as a legacy for the next generation. Although it is less known compared to other Japanese cultural arts, but it has a very high value in describing the cultural wealth of Japan and this telling us that every art in every culture too are just as precious as Kirikane and need to be preserved.

Rabu, 5 Oktober 2016

Kirikane Seni Halus Jepun Daripada Emas

Kehalusan seni "Kirikane" diterapkan pada pinggan kaca ini.

Kirikane (截金), merupakan seni daripada Jepun yang menggunakan kepingan emas nipis yang jarang didengari. Seni ini yang dibawa daripada luar dikatakan berasal Alexandria iaitu sebahagian daripada Egypt purba sekitar kurun ke-3 BC. Namun seni ini di Jepun dibawa dari China sebagai sebahagian seni hiasan Buddhist bagi menghiasi patung-patung dan lukisan.

Mungkin anda tidak pernah mendengar mengenainya kerana di Jepun sendiri, seni ini mula diperkenalkan semula kerana ia kurang mendapat perhatian sebelumnya. Seni kirikane bukanlah mudah untuk dikuasai oleh semua orang kerana ia bukan sahaja menggunakan bahan-bahan seperti emas, perak dan platinum, tetapi kepingan logam-logam beharga yang digunakan ini amat nipis dan sukar dikendalikan tanpa kemahiran dan kesabaran yang tinggi.

Seni ini dibawa ke Jepun daripada China semasa Dinasti Tang (618–907) dan contoh yang masih boleh dilihat sehingga ke hari ini misalnya adalah seperti Tamamushino Zushi di Horyuji Temple. Seni ini amat popular di sekitar abad ke-11 hingga ke 14. Ia kemudiannya hampir lenyap berikutan dengan kekurangan seni hiasan Buddhist di Jepun.

Penampilan seni Kirikane yang amat unik.

Bekas simpanan berbentuk bola.

Akane Yamamoto menyerlahkan Kirikane melalui seni kaca.

Hari ini seni ini diberikan nafas baru walaupun seni asalnya masih lagi dikekalkan secara kecil-kecilan. Melalui usaha penggiat-pengiat seni Jepun generasi baru, kirikane ditampilkan merangkumi media yang lebih menarik merangkumi aspek hiasan yang lebih meluas. Antara penggiat seni kirikane yang terkenal adalah Akane Yamamoto yang berjaya menampilkan seni kirikane di peringkat global dengan “Kirikane Glass” yang dihasilkannya.

Walaupun Akane menggunakan media-media baru dalam penghasilan “Kirikane Glass” rekaannya, beliau masih lagi menampilkan ciri-ciri halus kirikane tradisional melalui potongan-potongan kepingan logam yang digunakan iaitu ianya berbentuk garisan, berlian, segi tiga, segi empat dan geometri halus seperti yang terdapat pada kirikane klasik. Namun denga menggunakan kaca, Akane menyerlahkan lagi seni ini dalam dimensi yang lebih mendalam.

Selain beliau, para penggiat seni lain juga turut menggunakan teknik kirikane mengikut kecenderungan masing-masing kerana seni ini boleh digunakan pada pelbagai mendia. Hanya seni kirikane mempunyai bentuknya tersendiri yang boleh diperhatikan dengan mudah melalui bentuk potongan kepingan logam yang digunakan.

Penggunaan Kirikane yang asal untuk menghisi patung keagamaan.

Ia juga boleh digunakan pada banyak barangan yang lain.

Kotak kayu yang dihiasi dengan Kirikane.

Seni ini perlu dilakukan dengan ketelitian yang tinggi memandangkan kepingan logam berharga yang digunakan amat nipis. Ia memerlukan pengendalian yang amat rapi bagi memastikan kerja-kerja yang dilakukan dapat menghasilkan satu hasil akhir sepertimana yang diinginkan.

  • Biasanya dua jenis kepingan logam digunakan dalam satu-satu hiasan terdiri daripada emas, perak dan platinum. Kepingan-kepingan ini perlu manjalani proses pemanasan (dengan teknik tersendiri) bagi melekatkannya antara satu sama lain bagi menambahkan ketebalan.

  • Kepingan-kepingan ini akan dipotong menggunakan pisau buluh (pisau logam tidak boleh digunakan) beralaskan pengalas yang dilapik dengan kulit rusa - bagi menghasilkan potongan yang baik.

  • Ia seterusnya dilekatkan menggunakan pelekat (daripada rumpai laut, funori dan ‘hide glue’, nikawa) ke atas barangan yang ingin dihiasi dengan kirikane.

Melihat kepada hasil daripada kirikane, maka anda pasti akan setuju bahawa ia perlu dikekalkan sebagai satu warisan untuk generasi berikutnya. Walaupun ia kurang dikenali seperti hasil-hasil seni kebudayaan Jepun yang lain, namun ia mempunyai nilai yang amat tinggi dalam menggambarkan kekayaan budaya yang halus. Ia secara tidak langsung memberikan kita pandangan kepada hasil seni budaya kita sendiri yang semestinya mempunyai nilai yang amat tinggi.

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Isnin, 29 Ogos 2016

Bagaimana Kertas Mencorak Budaya Jepun

Origami merupakan budaya Jepun yang popular menggunakan kertas.

Walaupun kertas mula dicipta di China sekitar 105 A.D. oleh Cai Lun, penghasilan kertas merebak dengan cepat ke bahagian-bahagian lain terutamanya Jepun dan Korea. Ia seterusnya mencorakkan budaya hidup masyarakat setempat terutamanya masyarakat Jepun yang mempunyai pelbagai keunikan budaya menggunakan kertas.
Jepun mempunyai kertasnya sendiri yang dikenali sebagai washi (和紙), yang bermaksud waJepun’ dan shikertas’. Kertas washi dihasilkan daripada serat kulit kayu gampi, tumbuhan mitsumata  (Edgeworthia chrysantha), atau  kozo (paper mulberry). Ia juga adakalanya dihasilkan menggunakan buluh, hemp, padi ataupun gandum. Kertas ini dihasilkan menggunakan tangan secara tradisional oleh keluarga-keluarga di Jepun menjelang 1800’s. Pada masa tersebut terdapat sekitar 100,000 keluarga yang menghasilkan kertas menggunakan tangan ini. Ia bagaimanapun semakin berkurangan apabila persaingan dari negara-negara lain semakin meningkat berikutan penggunaan mesin-mesin moden.

Sugiharagami (杉原紙), sejenis kertas "washi".

Edgeworthia chrysantha atau mitsumata.
Penghasilan washi secara tradisional dilakukan menjelang musim sejuk bagi memastikan air digunakan adalah sejuk untuk mengelakkan bakteria yang boleh menyebabkan pereputan serat yang digunakan. Ia juga membantu untuk menghasilkan kertas yang lebih bermutu. Selain itu ia juga memberikan para petani pendapatan tambahan ketika musim sejuk.
Proses penghasilan washi bermula dengan batang-batang (kozo, gampi atau mitsumata) yang dicantas dan direndam. Kulitnya akan diasingkan sebelum kulit dalamnya pula dikeluarkan untuk dibersihkan dan diketuk dan ditegangkan.
Serat yang yang telah diketuk ini kemudiannya dimasukkan ke dalam bahan cecair  yang dicampurkan tororo-aoi (akar bunga raya yang ditapai) untuk menambahkan kelikatan yang kemudiannya membentuk pes.

Pes ini kemudiannya akan diratakan di atas jejaring buluh untuk membentuk kertas. Kertas-kertas kemudiannya akan diasingkan sebelum ianya dikeringkan di atas kayu di bawah matahari atau di dalam bangunan menggunakan pemanas.
Washi mempunyai banyak kelebihan tersendiri memandangkan ia dihasilkan secara tradisional membolehkan ia menghasilkan kertas yang lebih tahan lasak untuk kegunaan-kegunaan yang tidak boleh digunakan untuk kertas biasa. Teksturnya juga memberikan kertas washi penampilan tersendiri dan amat sesuai digunakan sebagai kad ucapan atau buku catatan peribadi. Kertas-kertas washi juga merupakan kertas yang kurang berasid dan tahan untuk tempoh yang lebih lama. Malah terdapat kertas washi yang masih bertahan setelah 1,000 tahun dihasilkan.

Ukiyo-e, merupakan seni blok cetakan.

Sajak "waka", oleh Ōshikōchi Mitsune di atas kertas suminagashi.
Kegunaan kertas washi boleh dilihat dalam kebanyakan hasil kerja tangan masyarakat Jepun selain hanya digunakan untuk tujuan penulisan dan cetakan. Walaupun Jepun terkenal dengan seni lipatan kertas yang dikenali sebagai origami, penggunaan washi meliputi lebih dari itu antaranya termasuk; chiyogami, ikebana, katazome, patung kertas, jahitan, shibori, shodo, sumi-e, suminagashi, ukiyo-e, washi eggs dan chigirie. Malah ia turut digunakan dalam banyak perkara lain seperti untuk membuat pakaian, masakan, perabut, barangan dan digunakan juga di dalam perayaan-perayaan khas. Tidak lupa juga kertas digunakan untuk membuat dinding bilik yang ringan.

Begitu sekali kertas dimanfaatkan di Jepun. Apa yang menarik, kertas-kertas washi yang dihasilkan amat menarik dengan penuh kesenian. Walaupun ia tidak dapat menandingi harga murah kertas-kertas yang dihasilkan menggunakan mesin moden, kertas washi tidak dapat diganti dengan kertas biasa. Semoga kita mencontohi kegigihan masyarakat Jepun dalam memperkayakan budaya mereka dengan keunikan budaya kita masing-masing. 

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