Nara Prefecture is known for Takayama tea whisks and Nara brushes. Takayama tea whisks date back to the mid-Muromachi period, and require traditional technology to produce. They are literally handcrafted gems made with a knife and fingers.
Nara brushes are said to have been born when the famous monk Kukai brought back brush making skills from China, leading to the production of brushes in Nara.
The Traditional Craft of Nara
Nara Prefecture is home to many traditional crafts, but from them we’d like to introduce Takayama tea whisks and Nara brushes.
Nara brushes are said to have been born when the famous monk Kukai brought back brush making skills from China, leading to the production of brushes in Nara. Animal hairs with a good balance of softness and firmness that absorb ink well are used in brush making.
By deciding the ratio and length of the hair according to the hair’s characteristic, and taking time to organize the hairs using a traditional method of kneading and mixing, high-end writing brushes with a brilliant touch in their tips are made.
Takayama Tea Whisks
Takayama tea whisks are tea whisks produced around Ikoma and Takayama. They are said to date back to the mid-Muromachi period. The tea whisks are made out of henon bamboo, black bamboo, and soot-colored bamboo that has been trimmed during the winter, blanched, and dried in the sun. The kind of bamboo, the shape of the point, the thickness and length of the bamboo, and the color of the thread differ between each school.
Among the techniques used to make Takayama tea whisks, the most difficult one is aji-kezuri (tine shaving) as it affects the taste of the tea, and traditional methods are required. The tea whisks are mostly handmade with a knife and fingers.
You can also experience making these traditional crafts yourself. Why not come and visit Nara Prefecture?
Know more about Nara
“Lesser-known Delicacies of Kansai”
- Winter and Summer Campaigns of Osaka
- Tottori Handcraft: a treasure trove of folk art and handicrafts
- Tokushima’s Handcraft: Indigo Dyeing and Cedar Chopstick