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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sailor Kamakura Bori - Hanabishi Limited Edition

Lacquer ware using the will known traditional wood craving technique Kamakura-bori has a history dated back 700 years ago when Kamakura (鎌倉市) was Japanese capital. Kamakura is a city located in Kanagawa prefecture, about 50 kilometer from south-west of Tokyo Japan.

During Kamakura glory days as Japanese capital, it was an important center of politics and culture. The people imported lots of Sung style culture from China. They blended Japanese traditional Buddhism arts technique into Sung style. That is the origin of Kamakura-bori.These objects were mainly seen alter fittings for Buddhist temples.

This traditional craft continue to grow in popularity during the the Momoyama (1578-1602) and the Edo(1603-1867) periods. Kamakura-bori became very popular because of the popularity of the tea ceremony.

During Edo period, the tea-caddies, incense boxes and incense burners are already decorated using maki-e lacquering technique. However, the elegantly designed Kamakura bori was also much loved and appreciated. Just like modern fashion, it has season. Toward the end of EDO period, people style changes to prefer simpler themes, which an emphasis on ‘Wabi’ and ‘Sabi’, two words which conjure up Zen-like style. The manufacture of Kamakura-bori started to declined.

Before we bore you to death about history of Kamakura Bori, we will stop here, and continue about it history in future. Let look at how it was made.

Now, let briefly descrbe the technique.

The Katsura tree is used for the wood for the Kamakura Bori. The wood is cured after harvesting and prepared for decoration.

All kind of works start with design. The Kamakura Bori is not different. The craftman first sketch the designs and patterns onto translucent sheets of Japanese paper using ink. Then the images are transferred onto dampened wood surfaces by rubbing. 

Next, the craftman will carves along the base lines of the pattern to create dimension, angle and perspective.

After the initial preparation craving work, the craftman, using the a special, flat-headed craving knives, to chip away portions of the surface, bit by bit, to create a relief design and pattern.

Finally, using a trademarked gouping technique, only known by the Kamakura Bori craftman, to finished up the craving work, giving the art piece a special texture. The end of craving process is the start of the lacquering process.

Similar to the maki-e technique, multiple layers of urushi are applied to the art piece. After multiple coatings of the base lacquer and polishing of the piece by using fine grained charcoal, a black lacquer is applied in two coats followed again by polishing with fine abrasives.

The last second steps is to apply a vermillion lacquer, a reddish, highly translucent finish unique to Kamakuri Bori.

At the final stage, a thin layer of urushi lacquer is applied. This is then wiped off, followed by a final polishing with powdered oatmeal material. This process is repeated until the perfect finish is achieved.

Each piece of Kamakura Bori artwork take about one to one-and-a-half months to make for a simple design.

Sailor Pen Co. worked with togather with the  Kamakura Bori craftman to bring this well know lacquer ware using the wood craving technique famous Kamakura-bori techique to us in limited numbers. This Hanahishi Kamakura Bori pen is limited to ten pieces worldwide.

It is presented in a beautify wooden box, and come togather with a Kamakura-bori lotus flower pen rest. This is a very long pen, longer than the Sailor KOP.
What disappointed us about this pen is the nib. We was expecting it to come with one of Sailor special nib, but it come with the standard Sailor 21K nib.

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