Snapshot 2: Who have I met?

Who have I met?
Well, so far I have met more than 50 individuals but this one was rather special.  He graces the lid of a natsume—a small tea caddy used for the powdered tea served at a tea ceremony.  The monkey is rendered by chasing the hard true lacquer with very sharp tools of various sizes.  Called chinkin in Japanese, this fine piece of work was skilfully produced by Kazutaka Furukomi.  The lacquer must be hard but not too hard so that it makes the chasing more difficult.  Having chased the design, lacquer is rubbed into the depressions.  Then, using a small wad of cotton, a very fine gold powder is rubbed over the motif, which reveals itself on the surface.

Kazutaka is lucky enough to have a strong fan-base for his work and a figure of around one million yen for such a piece does not deter a buyer.  Worth it?  Well yes, because it will be used and cherished, most likely for several generations.

I was very pleased to meet the monkey, Kazutaka and his wife, Sachiko.  And then there were the four cats, who appeared at various times but were not allowed free rein in the room where Kazutaka works.  After all, cat hair flying about is no match for the golden coat of a monkey.  It would only be an annoyance.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

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