Hakone marquetry, behind the scenes of exceptional art

Appeared at the end of the Edo period, yosegi-zaiku marquetry consists of covering handicrafts with a mosaic. A very special mosaic since it is based on wood species! Frames, jewelry boxes, trays, pencil holders or coasters are particularly suitable for this art.

The basics of yosegi-zaiku art

To obtain these much sought-after hypnotic patterns, it takes a long, painstaking and complex process.

First, a number of types of wood are cut and glued together to form a block. Then this block is itself cut and planed until a sheet is obtained which the craftsman passes over so that it is as thin as possible. This same sheet is finally glued on the external faces of the chosen objects.

The most famous craftsmen in yosegi-zaiku marquetry come from the village of Hatajuku. This village is located in the Hakone region, hence the name Hakone Marquetry. The local species that are used (mulberry, Chinese cedar, walnut …) help to make each work unique and authentic.

Hakone-yosegi-zaiku marquetry

Hakone marquetry is particularly sought after today for its himitsu-bako, boxes with secret compartments once used by samurai to hide their objects and documents on their travels. The himitsu-bako contain many moving parts which, when moved in the right order, allow the box to be opened and its little treasures to be discovered.

Among the boxes that have been created, there are unique pieces steeped in history and more modern pieces with incredible shapes. Craftsmen from the Hakone region compete in ingenuity to create pieces with ever more intricate designs. A real feast for the eyes!

If you want to know more about this traditional Japanese art, we invite you to watch the video below. We find there all the steps mentioned above.

Also find all our Hakone marquetry products on Nipponboutique!

Victoria Grente Written by: