⟨ Craft ⟩

Cultural Heritage from the Kurikawa Shoten

Kutami Uchiwa

Words / P Yue
Translation / Fanny Chan

如果有參加過日本祭典的朋友,大概都不會對團扇感到陌生,除卻男男女女穿在身上的浴衣,這把圓孤形狀的扇子,在大型祭典時可是人手一把、永不落空。

不同於摺扇的可收合設計,團扇的扇面及扇柄一體成形,最早可追溯到平安時代前,扇涼之外,也有鑑賞和裝飾的用途;由鑲金帶銀的、畫師繪製扇面的,又或者是質樸純淨的,各式其式的團扇融入到日本社會各階層,是一項流傳千年以上的文化遺產。

If you’ve ever participated in any of the Japanese summer festivals, you’re probably familiar with the uchiwa fans. The round-shaped paper fan is often seen in the hands of men and women in yukata robes during the summer festivals.

Unlike the collapsible design of folding fans, the fan framework and handle of the uchiwa are made from a single piece of bamboo, and such design can be traced back to the Heian era. Other than creating a breeze to keep cool in hot weather, the uchiwa fans are also crafted for appreciation and decoration. They’re sometimes decorated with gold and silver, hand painted by artists, and other times the fans are kept simple and pure. The various kinds of fans make their ways into different walks of Japanese life, and they have become a cultural heritage that has a long history spanning 1,000 years.

現今團扇的生產地,主要有京都,丸龜和熊本這三個地方,上圖的團扇則是來自熊本「來民團扇」,由熊本當地的栗川商店製作,其為唯一一家仍傳承製作著「來民團扇」的工房。

「來民團扇」起源於17世紀的四國地區,傳說是由丸龜的僧侶傳授技法而來。主材料使用紙,竹和柿漆製作,當中的「柿漆」是利用未熟的「豆柿」製作染料,接著塗沫在和紙上,使紙質變得堅輒堅硬,以及令表面變光澤,此外更可以防止昆蟲蛀食扇面。

誠然比起花花綠綠,經過繪製的扇面,這把淨色團扇可能略顯單調,但也正因為這份單調,才能使得人們在凝望它時,勾起一種對歷史的、對傳統工藝的莊重感。

Nowadays, Kyoto, Marugame and Kumamoto are considered to be the three greatest production areas of uchiwa in Japan. The uchiwa shown above is the Kutami uchiwa produced by the Kurikawa Shoten in Kumamoto. Kurikawa Shoten is the only workshop that has inherited the tradition of crafting Kutami uchiwa.

The technique of crafting Kutami uchiwa, which originated in the Shikoku area in the 17th century, is said to be inherited from the monks of Marugame. The main materials used for making the fans are paper, bamboo and persimmon tannin (kaki-shibu). Among which, the persimmon tannin is made from unripe persimmon, and is applied over the Japanese washi paper as a coating to make the fans more durable, strong, and shiny, as well as to repel insects.

It may be true that the plain color Kutami uchiwa could come across as a bit dull and simple compared to the vibrantly painted fans, but it is this simplicity that allows people to develop a sense of respect for history and traditional craftsmanship.


Available at LAB Collector Hong Kong
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