The moment you see it, the glittering glow of Satsuma -kiriko attracts your eyes. The attractiveness of Satsuma-kiriko is the vivid color glass covered so thickly, the patterns with the combination of bold and delicate sense, and the gradation of elegant colors created with the precise techniques of the craftsmen. The glassware from Kagoshima Prefecture is stronger than Edo-kiriko in Tokyo. In particular, the shape of the wineglass expresses its strength, so some people prefer Satsuma-kiriko.
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What is Satsuma-kiriko?
Satsuma-kiriko is one of Kagoshima Prefecture’s traditional crafts, and its delicate patterns are so beautiful. In the late Edo period, while foreign countries were promoting colonial activities, Shimazu Nariakira (1809-1858), the feudal lord of Satsuma Province (today’s Kagoshima Prefecture) tried to cope with that threat not only by force but also by enriching the country. He wanted to export Satsuma-kiriko to get foreign currency.
However, the production ended in just 20 years, due to the loss of factories with the British-Satsuma War and the death of Nariakira. As it was until 1980, Satsuma-kiriko had disappeared from history. Shimadzu Kogyo, the descendant of Shimadzu, received an offer from Kagoshima prefecture and restored it as “Shimazu Satsuma-kiriko”, which inherited the spirit of Nariakira.
The traditional colors of Satsuma-kiriko are 6 colors: red, green, purple, green, gold-red and yellow. Furthermore, in addition to the traditional colored and transparent glass, “two-color covered” Satsuma -kiriko has also been born that has another layer of color glass called “intermediate color”.
You can observe the manufacturing process of such Satsuma-kiriko at the “Iso Craft Museum” in the Iso Area where is one of the World Heritage Site “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining”