Some art forms are so uniquely exquisite that they don’t just survive throughout the centuries, but actually thrive.
The intricate method of Edo Kriko glass carving is a prime example of this, and the craftspeople still practising this 200-year-old skill are proud to continue such a rich and valued custom. Yet they are still modern makers and careful about restricting their work by describing it as strictly traditional.
“Tradition really is a big word, laden with lots of different meanings,” explains third generation Edo Kiriko artisan Yoshiro Kobayashi. “It’s not something that is forced on anybody nor is it something that people carry on their backs, [but] something which I believe is born out of daily human activity and created organically from the repetition of that custom… something that connects everything.”
Precise repetition is crucial to the art of Edo Kiriko and years of practise and training are essential for any aspiring craftsperson. Kobayashi, like many of his peers, began his education at the tender age of 13 when he joined his father in his workshop.