2017 The Year of the Rooster


Happy New Year

In the Chinese zodiac it is the year of the rooster.  It seems that those born in this year are “generally intelligent and kind by nature”.  The Japanese apparently say that the rooster has five virtues:  Its comb represents civilisation and its strong feet military might and thus courage.  When food is found it calls others in what is interpreted as a sign of humanity.  And finally something we can all relate to, is its faithfulness as it watches for the dawn.

Here the theme is expressed with simplicity and style by Katsuko Kado.  The makie work is sharp, simple and appealing, and she has depicted both chick and rooster.  The wooden core is zelkova—a member of the elm family—and a hint of the turning process is allowed to show through the lacquering.

The chopsticks from the Wajima Kirimoto Woodcraft Workshop are beautifully finished, with the makie design wrapping around the 225 mm-long, squared off tops of the chopsticks.

Equally stylish, these small “jugs” could easily be mistaken for an extreme abstraction of plump little chickens.  Taichi Kirimoto says that the spouts are made so that they do not drip.  Measuring 136x128x70 mm they can be used to hold a tipple of saké or any other precious beverage.  Why not even for cream or milk for a New Year savouring of freshly made coffee or English tea.  Oh, but perhaps they might drip with cream or milk.  When buying a new jug, my mother-in-law would always ask for it to be filled with water, so that she could make sure it did not drip.

Yes, it is meant to be a bird but maybe not a chicken.  Fashioned as a paperweight, Hidetaka Wakashima says, “It is just a bit of fun really.  If it stares at you, you can stare back.  Or perhaps it represents just how a husband and wife have a ‘bond’ for life!  Anyway, I like it and it makes people chuckle when they catch sight of it”.  The wood is elm and it is 5.5 mm in diameter and 18 mm high.

This representation of a skylark is equally appropriate as a symbol for the year of the rooster.  It holds the hopes and desires of us humans, who will always find delight in the soaring flight song of this beautiful bird.  Here it is depicted by Kazuta Furikome using a chasing technique on a box measuring 15x15 mm and 18 mm high.  The lark rises from a field of grain in joyous freedom.

© Photo Copyright with individual makers.
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