photo Chinkin


In this technique, a chisel or blade is used to cut lines or dots into a lacquered surface. Gold leaf or fine gold powder is then inlaid in the grooves, creating a fine and delicate design. This technique was conveyed from China to Japan approximately 600 years ago.


Facts about chinkin

When gold leaf or gold dust is inserted into lines and dots cut into the surface, it creates a brilliantly glittering gold design. When silver is used in place of gold it is known as chingin, and when vermilion is used it is called chinshu.

Did you know?

The fine cat hair and delicate lace in the piece shown at right were all made by cutting lines and dots into the surface. Once made, a cut cannot be corrected, so there is no room for error.


How to make chinkin

  1. (1) Cut a design into a surface
  2. (2) Apply Urushi in the cut-away areas
  3. (3) Use cotton to apply gold powder
  4. (4) Wipe away the excess gold powder, and you're done!
  • "What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo / List of works English translation: Kazuko Todate (Art critic / Art historian)


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