Edo sashimono refers to a method of woodworking passed on to Edo (modern-day Tokyo) from the imperial capital of Kyoto in the mid-Edo period (1603-1868). The technique is characterized by extremely close and delicate interlocking of pieces of wood without the use of any nails whatsoever. The method was originally developed in medieval Kyoto in tandem with the establishment of tea ceremony culture and was characterized by elegant and minutely detailed craftsmanship. After its inception in Kyoto, the method was taken on by artisans concentrated in eastern Edo, who further evolved the method and developed their own unique techniques.
Yoshio Inoue is the second generation of his family to have devoted his life to Edo sashimono, having been captivated by the ingenuity and precision of the craft. His skills as a master craftsman are invaluable for passing on the knowledge of this extremely complex woodworking technique to future generations. At the request of Azmaya, a company that works with domestic craftspeople to produce items for daily use, he has been working on the production of hand sized dust pans made using sashimono techniques. Although at first glance it may be hard to appreciate, if you look closely at the wood and the structure of the dust pan, it becomes evident that it is an item born from extremely delicate handiwork.
The basis for all sashimono woodwork is what is known as the hozo, a joint technique whereby two pieces of wood are fitted together. No matter how much experience you may accumulate, it is said that it takes approximately 10 to 15 years to be able to master the art of a basic hozo joint. The almost mystical work of quickly and carefully fashioning a piece of wood using dozens of different kinds of planes and chisels is a technique that is nurtured over long years of experience, with the craftsman relying on the feel of the wood in the palm of his hand. Another crucial aspect of creating sashimono is to be fully aware of the qualities of the wood that is being used and to carefully check its qualities from time to time. An entire tree is dried for a period of three years. After this, when assembling an item, the craftsman searches for the parts of the tree that will show off the wood grain to best effect. This is another aspect of sashimono that requires the craftsman to nurture an outstanding eye for beauty, through long years of interaction and experience with the grain of the wood.
Wood from the Akita cedar tree is the material used for the dust pan. Among the many cedars in Japan, it is prized for its beauty. After the wood has been cut using a plane it is then carefully polished to the extreme using a file in order to adjust the thickness. This process brings out the uniquely soft grain of the cedar wood. The brush made from straw carefully wound and bound with with steel.
A perfect accessory for tidying dust from your desk or working area.