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Have you heard of Edo-kiriko? When brainstorming traditional Japanese tableware, it is usually lacquerware or pottery, both porcelain and earthenware, that comes to mind and known to subtly yet luxuriously compliment Japanese cuisine. Difficult to imagine as it seems, glassware is also a pre-modern signature tableware; Edo -kiriko is a representative glass tableware.

Shining light on Edo-kiriko, its translucent colored labyrinthine-cut design reflects on the tabletop through its transparent body as though a beautiful shadow is following the Edo-kiriko. Edo-kiriko is a type of cut glass that developed in the Edo area (now Tokyo) in the Edo Era (1603-1867).

It is well known that Arita porcelain (called Imari porcelain in those days) was exported from Japan in early Edo Era and was copied in the Western world which eventually became known as Meissen. On the contrary, Edo-kiriko started by copying intricate cut glass from England but developed in Japan as craftsmen refined the design and passed down techniques to later generations. Now, Edo-kiriko is designated as Japanese Traditional Craft by the Ministery of Economy, Trade and Industry. It is interesting to know that what is considered Traditional Japanese Craft did not derive from Japan. Ages and ages of disciplined work of craftsmen improved the art of Japanese cut glass.

In the process of cutting glass, only bold lines are pre-marked on the glass. Detailed and thin lines can only be drawn from years of experience since craftsmen can barely see what they are cutting through translucent colored glass. Darker the color of the glass, the more skill is needed.

Please enjoy Edo-kiriko offered by Japan Marche; it is glass art made from tradition and true craftsmanship.

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