Metal inlay

photo Metal inlay


In metal inlay (called zogan in Japanese), lines are carved into the surface of metal and different metals are inlaid in the carved-out lines. Differences in the color and texture of metals create the design.
There is a variety of styles such as hirazogan (flat inlay), in which flat sheets are inlaid to be the same height as the surface; takaniku zogan (high mounted inlay), where material is set on a high-relief metal ground; and nunome zogan (texture inlay), in which thin metal leaf is hammered into a carved pattern.


  1. 1.Grooves are carved into the surface of metal and widened out.
  2. 2.Metal is inlaid and fit into the grooves.
  3. 3.The inlaid metal is hammered into the grooves and the edges are smoothed out.
  4. 4.The surface is burnished with a file or whetstone, and it is complete.
  • "What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo Reference artworks