Souvenirs   工芸家

Date of publication :
Japanese ceramics developed by the growing interest in the tea ceremony.

Japanese ceramics developed by the growing interest in the tea ceremony.

The katana, a symbol of Japan in the world.

The katana, a symbol of Japan in the world.

Washi, light and strong traditional Japanese paper, is essential to remember a trip to Japan.

Washi, light and strong traditional Japanese paper, is essential to remember a trip to Japan.

Fitting kimono dress inseparable from the image of Japan.

Fitting kimono dress inseparable from the image of Japan.

Traditional shopping

Kimonos, swords or ceramics: Here are five typical objects of Japanese craftsmanship to bring back in your in luggage, and some places to find them in Tokyo and Kyoto.

  • Silk scarves
Between the disappearance of painted designs and the introduction of Western clothing in the 30s, the kimono has had a hard time in the twentieth century. Although wearing them is no longer a must, certain occasions such as weddings (where the groom's mother offers one to her daughter-in-law), or the matsuri, make it possible to continue the production of these precious pieces of silk. Pay attention to your choice of obi! This belt, the jewel of the kimono, emphasizes its quality.

  • The art of porcelain

Japan is considered to be one of the cradles of ceramic production. It was in the sixteenth century with the interest in the tea ceremony that this craft greatly expanded. The styles are many and varied depending on the location of the oven, but Arita ceramics (near Fukuoka), recognizable by their deep blue, are the reference in this field.

Among the most famous are also Bizen (Okayama Prefecture), with red and brown reflections,  and Hagi (Yamaguchi Prefecture), light bowls with fine cracks used for the tea ceremony.

  • "The luster of the hand" ( In Praise of Shadows - J. Tanizaki)

Lacquer, a solid and easy to work coating,has been making Japanese objects shine since the sixth century. Most often used for dishes, small boxes or the sheathes of Samurai sword, the lacquer resin gives a smooth, sober and refined appearance. The patina of lacquer ware, a work of time, increases its beauty. Still very popular, they are among the inherent items of the Japanese table.

  • The blade of Warriors

Like the kimono, the art of forging Japanese swords also had a rough time. The ban on wearing the saber imposed by Meiji and the disappearance of many artisans during the Second World War dealt a blow to their production ... Today, the art of Japanese swords is one of the most respected traditions in the country, and the most famous overseas.

  • Small papers

The traditional Japanese paper, washi, which Junichiro Tanizaki praised the beauty of in his In Praise of Shadows (1933), has been made ​​by craftsmen for over 1 300 years. The fibers of the paper mulberry of which it is made, make it remarkably light and amazingly strong. From shoji (sliding doors), to stationery, kites, and lampshades, the uses for washi are infinite. The Awagami factory located in Tokushima Prefecture, ensures the survival of the Archipelago's paper traditions by reproducing ancestral techniques.

Comments Read comments from our travellers