Making Philosophy - Part 3 -
From the Sacred Forest
- The beauty of the material -
By the way, why did ancient people decide to use this Kiso-hinoki for Shinto rituals and shrines?
I have seen and touched many kinds of wood. From this woodworker's perspective, I think one of the reasons is the "beauty of the wood surface" of Kiso-hinoki.
The best feature of Kiso-Hinoki is that the annual rings are narrow and even.
Sometimes I come across Kiso-Hinoki that is really straight grained and get captivated by the beauty.
The surface just after planed is especially beautiful and exudes a soothing scent.
In my workshop, When the surface of Kiso-Hinoki has just smoothed with a well-cut plane, the appearance is so beautiful. at the same time, The aroma from the surface fills my workshop. That is a supreme time for a craftsman.
- Delivering scents, too -
The reason why I wrap the inori-gumo in thin paper is because I want to deliver the fragrance of this Kiso-Hinoki as much as possible.
By wrapping it in thin paper, the fragrance particles remain in the fibers of the paper.
If you would like, after opening the box, please hold your face closer and open the thin paper. The fragrance would be retained.
For this reason, we do not wrap our products in plastic.
- Kiso-Hinoki tests the artisans -
As I explained, Kiso-Hinoki is a good material, However, any artisan sould not rely on the material.
Needless to say, the important thing is the skill and craftsmanship that maximizes beauty of the material.
In spite of its beauty, Kiso-Hinoki causes difficulty in the production.
Because, Kiso-Hinoki is a material that need to be very careful in the chisel work.
If a chisel is inadvertently inserted from the opposite direction (against the grain), the wood will crack. So the woodcarver must have the knowledge and sense to read the grain correctly.
In contrast, hardwoods such as zelkova, camphor, cherry etc.. are very tenacious, so they are easier than Kiso-hinoki.
Therefore, Kiso-Hinoki is a tree that tests the ability of artisans.
Inori-gumo is made of the above materials.
For more information, click on the article below.
Making Philosophy - Part 1 -
Making Philosophy - Part 2 -
Inori-gumo is made of kiso-hinoki. The reason of using this material is that there is no better material to use for a Shinto shrine.
Kiso-hinoki is a kind of Hinoki. And Hinoki is similar to cypress.
Hinoki has been familiar to Japanese people for a long time, and Hinoki is mentioned in the Nihon-Shoki (Ancient chronicles of Japan) and Kojiki (Japanese mythology).
Kiso-Hinoki is well known as a material for Ise Shrine, and also used for Shinto rituals.
In terms of strength and workability, there are many woods that are better than Kiso-Hinoki.
Nevertheless, Kiso-Hinoki is often used in Shintoism is probably because of its historical prestige as a Shinto shrine material.