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【Culture】Raden, A Combination of Beauty, Skill and Love2015.09.28

150928★ 螺鈿

Raden” is one of Japan’s most important woodcraft that have a long history and great cultural value. It is a stunning laquerware and wood ware technique that is also known as “Japaning.” The “Raden” technique is used to exquisitely decorate various items, such as chopsticks, small boxes and chests. “Raden” art is defined by mother-of-pearl or of abalone shells cut into designs, glued on or inserted into the surface of a lacquer or wood base. The embedded layer of abalone, mother-of-pearl, ivory and other shells, create fantastic designs. “Raden” works are praised and cherished because burnished the inner surface of the shell or pearl layer takes on a brilliant iridescent luster.

Ownership of a “Raden” piece, was and still is, considered a symbol luxury and richness. Initially, “Raden” was used in mosaics combined with amber and tortoise shells. It was introduced into Japan during the Nara era (710-784) from the Tang Dynasty of China (618-907) and expanded rapidly during the Heian era (794-1185) and Kamakura era (1185-1333). During the Muromachi open trade era, (1336-1573), Japan made chests of drawers and coffee cups decorated with “Raden” for export to Europe.

Original “Raden” pieces can be viewed at Shosoin, Treasure Warehouse (Japan’s oldest treasure warehouse with the largest collection of 8th century Silk Road artifacts). Today, “Raden” art pieces, large or small, are highly prized and valued due to their beauty, skill and training required to produce the finished pieces. The best of Japan’s history, beauty, art and craftsmanship is modeled in a “Raden” piece.

Consider giving a “Raden” piece, which radiates Japanese history, beauty, love and culture.

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