Edo Kiriko Cut Glass from Sumida
Cut glass from the city of Edo (present-day Tokyo) - Edo kiriko - is now on display on the Ground Floor.
Edo kiriko is said to have been first produced in 1834 CE by Kagaya Kyūbei (d. 1874) who owned a glass shop in Nihonbashi Ōtenma-chō in the centre of Edo. In 1881, a glass-cutting engineer, Emmanuel Hauptmann, was invited from the United Kingdom to train a number of Japanese craftsmen in the latest glass-cutting technology and thus the tradition became embedded in the fabric of the city. Cutting and polishing techniques developed and the quality of Edo kiriko improved, reaching the height of its popularity in the early years of the 20th century.
Edo kiriko was designated a ‘Tokyo Traditional Craft Industry’ in 1985 and a ‘National Traditional Craft’ in 2002.
Visit to find out about the various stages of the manufacturing process, such as blowing the coloured glass, rough cutting, detailed design cutting and polishing with a whetstone and a wooden wheel. Guests can also learn about and see examples of the multitude of Edo kiriko patterns like asanoha (hemp leaves) and ichimatsu (a historical chequered pattern), amongst others.
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