Japanese Woodworking Matsuri – The Hand Tools

Saw, sawset, handplanes, square, sumitsubo and sumisashi by Kawahara Keigo, Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, Netherlands.

We start our matsuri, or festival, with work commissioned by Philip Franz von Siebold, German physician and botantist. In 1823, under the auspices of the Dutch East Indies Company he was posted to Dejima, an artificial island and trading post off the coast of Nagasaki. For over 200 years, first for the Portuguese and later for the Dutch, Dejima was the conduit for trade with Japan during the isolationist Edo period (1600-1869).

Siebold collected a vast number of plants that were later taken to Leiden. He taught western medical practices and he, along with others, documented Japanese flora, fauna, customs and culture. Siebold quickly began the multi-volume “Archiv zur Beschreibung Nippons” (Archive for Describing Japan). The archive included this illustration of tools:

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Siebold was allowed to hire artist Kawahara Keiga (1786-1860?) to further their documentation efforts. Kawahara was taught western painting techniques by Carl Hubert de Villeneuve. He painted harbor scenes, plants, animals and all manner of things. His artwork included the hand tools used by Japanese craftsmen.

Kawahara painted on paper, wood and silk. An archive of his work is held by the Netherlands National Museum of Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde Leiden). Below is a gallery of Japanese hand tools painted on silk by Kawahara. At the end of the gallery are three illustrations by other artists, each of which has been used in previous blog posts (now they are all together!). After the gallery is a link to use if you would like to see several more paintings of tools, boats, sea life and more.

The link to see more of Kawahara Keigo’s work:


The link will take you to a Search Page. If it comes up in Dutch you can select your alternate language at the top right of the page. In the Search Box enter Kawahara Keigo and press Search. Use the Green Arrows on the right to advance to Page 11. Kawahara’s work is found on Pages 11 to 51.

Kawahara’s cats! After all, this is the Lost Art Press and Cats blog.

– Suzanne Ellison

Source: lostartpress.com

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