Osaka Ranma : carved wooden panel set above fusuma or shoji
Ranma is a part of Japanese architecture which the origin is thought to be the lighting parts of temples and shrines in Nara era (about 1300 years ago). Set between Fusuma or Shoji and the ceiling, Ranma can play many roles, such as lighting, ventilation, and decoration, to keep the house comfortable.
First, Ranma was for the aristocracy since its purpose was adding extra snugness to houses. Later in Edo period (1603-1867), when the wartime was over, it became to be used for ordinary houses, too.
Osaka Ranma began in the middle of Edo period to meet the needs from merchants and citizens in Osaka. Artisans gathered in Horie and Yokobori area where fine timbers were gathered, and developed their curving skills, which had its origin in structure of shrines and temples such as Hijiri Shrine and Shitennoji.
Currently, there are some decoration styles in Osaka Ranma; Tyokoku ranma, making the use of the patterns of wood grain (usually Yakushima cedar is used), picture-like patterns or sculptures are vividly expressed; Sukashi bori, using thin panel of paulownia, sophisticated patterns are carved; Osa, expressing delicacy with fretworks; Kumiko, using more elaborate parts than Osa, beautiful patterns are created; Yonuki, corroboration of paulownia and bamboo, and the unique structure of bamboo can add stylishness.
After the panel, Ranma, is formed, artisans polish it with tree wax for protection and luster. Osaka Ranma artisans creates various patterns (from simple flowers to 3D dragons) with various styles by their hand, from designing to finishing.
Osaka Ranma was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1975.