What is Kirikane?



 It is the technique to create the pattern with the strips or, diamond or triangular shapes made of gold leaf which is produced by heating together the several sheets of gold leaf and has a thickness, and to put it on the desired place. It has been used mainly to add the solemn decoration to Buddhist statues and paintings.

 
The origin of Kirikane is said that it had started from Sandwich gold-glass bowl (The British Museum Collection)made in Alexandria of ancient Egypt in the 3rd century BC. A large Lotus motif made by the sophisticated technique of Kirikane is put between the glass layers.
 
 Kirikane was transmitted to Japan in such a form as a decoration-technique to solemnize Buddhist statues in the sixth century after the long journey across Silk Road. Kirikane brought in Japan has achieved the development of Japan’s own, and especially during the Heian era through the 11th to 12th century, along with the prosperity of Buddhist art supported by dynastical as well as aristocratic culture. Its design becoming more delicate and more graceful, Kirikane also marked its highest peak. But Kirikane has gone out of use gradually along with the decline of Buddhist art, and we also hear there was time tradition that’s one person until recently. During this crisis of discontinuity of Kirikane’s tradition, Mr. Baitei SAIDA (1900-1981) revived it and, for the first time, developed it not to Buddist art but to the applied fine art. He was honored the first National Treasure Artist as ‘Kirikane’ holder, and then, the second holder, Daizo NISHIDE (1913-1995) enhanced Kirikane’s artistic quality more highly by applying it to his own wood carving, and finally, the third holder, Sayoko ERI (1945-2007), played a revival of this technique by showing a series of her works ingenious modern. 
 
 Holding the predecessors passion and efforts not to exterminate this technique and its tradition, in my heart, I hope to explore the further possibility of expression with Kirikane based on a newer sensibility, and to inherit it to the next generation.
                                   
 Akane Yamamoto