Arts & Aesthetics

/Arts & Aesthetics

Gold-Motifs and Lacquer Work

Gold leaf (kinpaku in Japanese) motifs on lacquer work feature prominently on many ancient Japanese shrines and temples. Notables among these are the Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto and the Nikko Toshogu shrine in the Tochigi prefecture: the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieasu. A UNESCO world heritage site, Nikko Toshugu (built in 1617) is home to the three wise monkeys: Mizaru (one who sees no evil), Kikazaru (one who hears no evil), and Iwazaru (one who speaks no evil), central to Gandhian (and Indian) philosophy, ethics, and morality. Gandhiji came in close contact with the Japanese Buddhist monk: Nichidatsu Fuji (whom he later Christened as Fuji Guruji), the founder of Nipponzan-Myōhōji order of Buddhism, at his Sevagram ashrama in Wardha (almost seventy-seven kilometers away from Nagpur) and these profound Japanese philosophies percolated in Gandhiji thus.

The art form (overlaying gold leafs on lacquer), is native to Kanazawa, a region in western Japan that boasts of a lion’s share of gold leaf production in Japan, currently.