Traditional Japanese Kumiko techniques,
assembling wooden pieces to create delicate patterns
The technique of Kumiko woodwork found in the oldest surviving wooden structure in the world
The technique of Kumiko woodwork was developed in Japan during the Asuka period (538-710 AD), and you can see it in Horyuji Temple in Nara, the oldest surviving wooden structure in the world and also having been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the tea ceremony and flower arrangement became widespread, and kumiko was also used in shoins (a type of traditional Japanese drawing or study room).
During the Edo period (1603-1868), the technique of Kumiko further developed and it’s still in use for shoji and ranma transoms today.
Japanese cypress trees from the Yoshino district, which have been carefully raised over many decades or even centuries by multiple generations, provide extremely tenacious and strong wood that has a finely packed grain, with minimal bends and knots.
Cypress was also used in the construction of Horyuji Temple.
Just where the cypress used in Horyuji temple was constructed from is uncertain, but the material is said to bear a very strong resemblance to Yoshino cypress.
Tanemura Woodworks, specializing in fittings, has been producing fittings for everything from private homes to shops and historic temple and shrine buildings.
Established 65 years ago, we carry out our vocation based on our strong drive to preserve the traditional techniques of woodworking in a form that fits the modern world and to connect these techniques to modern life.
Shippo Kumiko, which means seven treasures, with simple and gentle design based on circles, incorporates traditional patterns and traditional methods, while also providing an attractiveness that fits into modern people’s lives. The new “Hanakumiko” Series has reinvented that classic Shippo Kumiko as a product that brings people’s lives into full and dazzling bloom.
All the kumiko work is produced in Yoshino cypress with a carefully selected combination of materials.
The “shippo” pattern, with its endlessly interlocking circle shapes, is an auspicious pattern symbolizing a hope for fulfillment, harmony, and lasting relationships.
It is named shippo to signify that the bonds that connect people to each other have a value equivalent to that of the seven treasures* of Buddhism.
In fittings, too, the shippo pattern has long been reproduced in kumiko work. Most of the patterns of kumiko work consist of straight lines, but Shippo Kumiko is composed of curved lines, so advanced and delicate techniques are required.
* Shippo is a Buddhist term, literally meaning “seven treasures” and referring to gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, coral, agate, and seashell.
Shippo Kumiko is a traditional Japanese pattern and craftsmanship technique that up to now has only been used for household fittings.
We started this project with the goal of bringing these delightful patterns and fine techniques closer to people in their everyday lives.
Careful consideration was given to the size of the kumiko, so as to combine a range of attractive products, and many long hours of hard work went into developing products that realize new combinations with different materials.
Each of the products comes with a “concept” text, so we hope you will enjoy reading it.