Arts Picks: ROOTS OF METALCRAFT: TSUBAME-SANJO, NIIGATA, JAPAN

21 February 2020
The Straits Times, Life!, Page C7

©Tsubame-Sanjo Factory Festival Committee

The metalwork of Japan’s craftsmen has attained mythic status, thanks to the pop culture cachet of samurai swords. But the metalware from Tsubame-Sanjo, two cities in Japan’s Niigata prefecture, is less lethal. The craftsmen’s precision work, now applied to more mundane objects ranging from tableware to machine parts in the modern age, is celebrated in the annual Tsubame-Sanjo Factory Festival. This showcase of the festival, curated by Japanese agency method inc, gives visitors a chance to see how the skills of metalworkers have evolved over 400 years. The objects on display are fascinating, ranging from pruning scissors customised for ikebana schools to traditional nails made from the 17th century, the production techniques for which are now being applied to making camping pegs.

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