Amazing Repair Work of World’s Best “Kazari Kanagu” in Nikko | Rare Traditional Techniques Revealed.


Since ancient times, humans have had a dream of being able to recreate the dazzling beauty of gold. Most buildings in Futarasan shrine were rebuilt around 1619 by Hidetada Tokugawa, the 2nd Shogun and a son of Ieyasu Tokugawa. The roof removal and repair has begun All the roof structure materials including decorative metal fittings will be dismantled. This task starts by understanding and documenting all the details before dismantling. Removed Metal Fittings are basically repaired and reused, but if they were severely damaged, they would be reworked. First off all, carry out the workpiece creation (original raw materials) before repairing. The old decorative accessories have been strengthened by being reconditioned Slowly add copper plate to the 5% sulfuric acid solution. This task is called Niarai (boiled and washed). Boiling helps remove old gold, rust and dirt. Finally rinse thoroughly with water If you polish it carefully with a brush and brass brush, it will be reborn again as the original beautiful copper color. Then there is the repair work, removing the distortions and smoothing. To this stage, we began to create color, both yellow and black. After this, we’re going to show you the traditional repair techniques. First, use a Mercury (I) nitrate (Hg2 (NO3)2) solution on the metal surface. Then, soak in the “Odoriko” mixture for a few minutes and keep at a temperature of 42°c This traditional technique has been practiced for a long time, but recently it has become rare to see outside of Nikko. Taken out of the mixture Odoriko and put it on fire. Then, under the effect of heat, the steam evaporates and the color of the brass is almost gold out. And basting a layer of mercury up Next, we use a brush and fabric to scatter mercury all over the metal surface. This is called Tousatsu (Coloring). Finally, gold leaves are put up onto the metal surface. Immediately after placing up, the gold leaf reacts with the mercury, the color turning silver. Sometimes, there are places need gold inlaid 3 times, some places don’t. After placed the gold leaves, using a brush and fabric to rub The work is aimed to save gold used on metal fittings. When the copper plate was heated with charcoal to evaporate mercury, a bright yellow color appears. On the metal surface, mercury evaporated and only gold was retained. Use water and brushes for cleaning and polishing surfaces. Moreover, to remove impurities, using dilute sulfuric acid solution Then dried back on charcoal These traditional methods are more expensive but more durable than today’s electroplating methods. To complete the restoration of the decorative accessory, the ink is filled in, creating a contrast between yellow and black. In Japan due to the influence of society, the samurai had found a world of beauty not only in gold but also in black. The repair of decorative accessories at Futarasan Shrine has been completed. Next is lacquer technique, using lacquer to press gold foil, which is used for surrounding structures like roofs. First, mix additives into the lacquer to enhance adhesion. Foil is only used once Unlike plating, lacquer paper is less durable but without the use of fire, it can be used on the spot. Kurome is the most frequently used method for creating black Kurome is a technique of black coloring by chemical change in a solution of Potassium sulfide The darkness of the black color can be adjusted depending on the concentration of the solution and the time taken. When the color at your discretion, rinse it with water Next is the most effective technique for creating black Ibushi is a technique of burning pine leaves and smoked them in the smoke. After using the Ibushi method to create the black, gloss it with Ihota Sanagi It’s use for smoothing, which is secreted from insect larvae. After polishing, we will reassemble Restoration of the decorative metal fittings on both side of the Yomei gate began. First, patterns of decorative fittings will be copied correctly onto a sheet of thin paper. Cut the copper plate according to the sample size Paste the drawing of a pattern that has just copied Conducting carvings according to drawings Using thin chisel, skillfully carved according to the lines.
This work is called Keri hori Find and sculpted the same patterns on the contour This is called Katabori Emphasize lines by carving larger and deeper strokes.
It’s Called Sukuiho Then, engrave small circles with a metal bar with a round head This work is called Nanakohori Create the outer frame and cut the copper plate matches to this frame. The production of new metal accessories has been completed. The script retention of metal fittings using lacquer is not much Therefore, the wishes of the current engineers are to keep the design records of all the decorative accessories. Nikko’s shrines and temples are being kept and developed to manipulate metal accessories from the Edo period Artisans making metal accessories in Nikko are continuing to preserve the traditional techniques to this day. With their great efforts, daylight of tradition will continue to shine in Nikko.

8 comments

I hope, that they dispose of all the used chemicals in a responsible way. But this is Japan. I know, they do. 😎👍

I am same it today’s technology must be some thing more better than smoking to blacken items and using poisons to achieve what they want I know the old traditional ways but Japanese technology is fantastic.

Mercury is toxic, the vapor is toxic. I don't see any procedures to protect the workers here, and I very mush suspect their health is in serious danger.

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