【Kyo Zogan Ono】Kyo Zogan

Kyo Zogan Ono

The surface of the iron fabric is unevenly inlaid using traditional techniques inherited from our predecessors and our own unique technology.We call this technique “Nashiji-style ground pattern” because the fine grainy pattern looks like the outer skin of a pear, and it is Kyo Zogan Ono's original technique.This unevenness can also be applied to create various patterns.Ishime, one of the techniques of carving, is also applied to gold and silver to create a three-dimensional effect.Using various techniques, Kyo Zogan Ono pursues the elegance of Zogan.
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Craftsman Profiles

Name :Shinji Ono

Place : Kyoto

Type of craft : Kyo Zogan


"We want to give back to society by preserving as much goodness as possible for future generations."

Our affluent society is the result of the efforts of our predecessors. It will not be a smooth road to realize our ideals, but we are committed to be such a workshop every day.

History of Kyo Zogan

Ancient Beginnings and Global Spread

The history of inlay craftsmanship dates back to around 1500 BCE, coinciding with the inception of iron smelting, in Damascus, Syria, where the art of gold inlay began. As civilizations transitioned from the Bronze to the Iron Age, inlay techniques were refined and spread across the Mediterranean, reaching Central Asia, Europe, and North Africa, establishing a diverse foundation for this intricate craft.

Introduction and Evolution in Japan

In Japan, the art of inlay is believed to have been introduced during the Asuka period, with the oldest existing inlaid item in Japan being the Seven-Branched Sword (Shichishitō) housed at the Isonokami Shrine in Nara Prefecture. The earliest domestic example of inlay work is an iron sword from the Inariyama Kofun (tumulus) in Saitama Prefecture, dated to 471 CE.

Technological Innovations and Decline

With the advent of firearms, "Nunome-Zogan," a novel inlay technique, found its application extensively on weapons and armor. This method, embedding gold and silver into precisely cut lines on an iron base, flourished in Kyoto, earning the moniker "Kyo-Zogan." However, the art witnessed a decline following the 1876 Haitōrei, an edict abolishing the wearing of swords. Despite this downturn, with the support of the government, artisans shifted their focus towards creating decorative objects, leading to a resurgence of the craft.

Features of Kyo Zogan

1. Eternal Elegance

The enduring appeal of Kyo Zogan lies in its timeless beauty and the way it gracefully ages. Unlike other forms of art that may fade, the contrast and depth of Kyo Zogan's metal inlays enhance over time, embodying the Japanese aesthetic of finding beauty in impermanence.

2. Precision and Complexity

At the heart of Kyo Zogan's allure is the extraordinary precision and complexity of its craftsmanship. Each piece is a testament to the artisan's skill in manipulating metal, achieving intricate designs that are both visually captivating and rich in symbolism.

Crafting Process of Kyo Zogan

Kyo Zogan Ono Products

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