Artifacts from Kyoto and Kochi Showcased at J-COLLABO Winter Festival

By Mina Hiraiwa

J-COLLABO held its winter festival at J-LABO Brooklyn on Nov. 8, 2014, and various unique artifacts from Miyabi/Kyoto and Taketora were displayed.

Miyabi/Kyoto, a company funded by Kyoto City, produces Kyoto artifacts with modern applications of traditional techniques. Kyoto craftsmen have retained their artistry and have integrated natural elements with people lifestyles. A few examples of their craft are presented below.

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Makyo Necklace

This Makyo necklace looks like a normal pendant with mirror at the back. But when it gets direct light on the mirror, an image of Jesus Christ on the cross appears reflected on the wall. This technique is called Makyo, and it was used secretly among Christians to pray to God during anti-Christian movement in the middle of Edo-period. As of now, only one artisan can create Makyo in Japan, so his technique needs to be handed down to a young generation.

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Makyo Reflection of Jesus Christ on the Cross

The rings below are made of bamboo with rattan decorations called “Choumusubi.” The coating of the rings is done with paint made from the shells of cashew nuts. The rings provide a combination of traditional elements and the latest trends.

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Bamboo Ring

Taketora is a company established in 1894 as the provider of bamboo products. It specializes in artifacts made of Tiger Bamboo that looks like tiger skin. The Tiger Bamboo grows only at Awa in Susaki City, Kochi Prefecture, Japan. Its uniqueness has attracted many dealers from Asian countries and media interest, such as from BBC that called it “Miracle Bamboo.” The photo below shows a Tiger Bamboo stool that is comfortable to sit on and can be used as an elegant art display.

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Tiger Bamboo Stool

This stylish bag in the photo below has a fascinating story. Japan exported various bamboo products to the United States about 50 years ago, and bags were one of those items. Many years later, a Japanese tourist found the Japanese bamboo bag in New York City and brought back to Japan. Taketora’s people were moved by this story, and they recreated the bag with Tiger Bamboo.

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Tiger Bamboo Bag