Kamakura column

History, culture, highlights and good stories.
There are so many wonderful stories of Kamakura that once you’ve started to uncover them you can not stop!
Please enjoy these columns that will help introduce you to the many interesting anecdotes of Kamakura.

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Kamakura-bori, its history and attraction

Kamakura-bori is a traditional craft of Kamakura. It features a very unique type of carving with special attention paid to the warmth of wood and the attainment of deep colors. Its origin is from the middle-age that Busshi made Buddhist altar equipments following after Cho-shitsu (a technique of carving lacquerware) which came from China. The bases of Kamakura-bori are such as Enkakujizoumaezukue (the age Kamakura – Muromachi・Jubun), Kenchōjizō, Shumidan (the age Kamakura – Muromachi・Jubun).

The types of wood that are typically used in the creation of Kamakura-bori are katsura, magnolia, and gingko. The hardwood is chiseled and repeatedly coated in a black or vermilion lacquer. After forming is completed, the wood is then subjected to engraving. The wood is then re-coated with lacquer multiple times to create a gloss. Not only does the lacquer serve to increase luster and color, but it also increases the durability of the piece. As a testament to the strength of Kamakura-bori, there is an account that in the Meiji period, a certain head family of artisans guaranteed their work for 100 years.

If you would like to know more about Kamakura-bori, please visit Kamakura-bori Kaikan or its museum. You can see the masterpieces from many different eras and observe the production process.

Kamakura-bori Kaikan
Kamakura-bori Kaikan

Botanfumikou(Muromachi~Momoyama period)