Official traditional craft in Japan
The production of Sendai Tansu (chest of drawers), originally a local industry in Sendai, is a traditional Japanese craft. It was designated by the Japanese government as an official traditional craft in June 2015.
Each piece is made by hand using only naturally grown trees such as zelkova, chestnut, cedar and paulownia. The surface is finished with kijiro-urushi lacquer, which becomes more transparent as the years pass. The hardware in the form of lavish toreutics gives Sendai Tansu a sophisticated appearance.
Lacquer: Traditional Japanese ‘urushi’ natural lacquer is used. The surface is finished with the kijiro-urushi lacquering technique, which causes the urushi to become more transparent over the years, allowing the wood grain to show through.
Spatulas, brushes and other tools are used depending on the purpose.
Decorative hardware: Mostly embossed iron hardware. Typical design motifs include dragons, peonies, lions, arabesques and family emblems. Craftspeople use as many as 1,300 kinds of tools such as chisels and hammers to chase the metal, finishing it off with urushi baking.
'Tools for Hardware Making'
Hardware is produced using anvils, tools to round off corners, chisels and tables for chisels.
After the base carving, the hardware is hammered from the reverse side on a lead table using a repoussé chisel. Then it is chased from the outward-facing side with a chasing chisel to refine the design. By repeating these processes, the raised design appears on the hardware.
The hardware is trimmed with a cutting chisel and goes through the finishing processes of chamfering, filing and rounding off the corners.
-Sendai Tansu Historical Museum
Wishing to pass down the Sendai Tansu and to share information about this unique item (including its history) around the globe, we opened the Sendai Tansu Historical Museum. We look forward to welcoming you.
Address: 4F Yunome Furniture
2-7-3 Honcho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi