Edo-Kiriko Glassware

Edo Kiriko, this type of cut glass has its origins in Edo (former name of Tokyo) in Tenpo 5 (1834). It is said that a person called Kyubei Kagaya, who worked at a glassware shop, developed Edo cutting glass skills from emulating a style of British cut glass and start to incise on the surface of glassware with emery sand. Originally, the apex of Japanese glass craft reached full bloom in the Tenpyo era (7th ~8th century), but waned from the 900s. However, 600 years later in 1549 the Japanese glassware culture became active again due to the influence of Francis Xavier. He brought glassware such as glasses, mirrors and vessels to Japan and the industry gradually prospered when Dutch and Chinese glass craftsman came to Nagasaki (about 1,000km to the west from Tokyo) around 1573. From that time on, people all over Japan heard about the flourishing glassware manufacture in Nagasaki, and many people come to study from Edo, Osaka, and from all over the country. After a few years, people who studied at Nagasaki brought back the skills of glassware to their hometowns, and that movement built up a foundation of Japanese glassware manufacturers.

 

Kyubei Kagaya, the pioneer of Edo cut glass, was the assistant manager of Kagaya, a glassware shop in Nihonbashi, in the town centre of Edo during An'ei 2 (1772). Then he started to enhance his knowledge of glassware and went to Osaka to study under the glass sculptor Kahei Izumiya for a few years. It is said that when Matthew C. Perry the commodore of the U.S. Navy fleet that came to Uraga, Japan in Kaei 6 (1853), Kyubei Kahei presented his Edo Kiriko and Perry was amazed at the quality and the level of craftsmanship apparent in the work. In Meiji 6 (1873) the government established the Shinagawa industrial glass factory as part of its industrial policy and Japanese modernistic glass production began. In Meiji 4 (1881), the Japanese government employed Emmanuel Hauptmann, a cut glass engineer from England, to teach cutting edge techniques of cut glass technology. This formed the starting point of the development of Edo Kiriko. Since then Japan has faced disasters such as earthquakes, war, etc, however, despite all this Edo Kiriko's tradition has carried through to the present.

 

We hope you will enjoy the beautiful Edo Kiriko world.

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