Posted 5 months ago
Kiriko is the Japanese name for cut glass and the most widely known is Edo Kiriko. Edo Kiriko is made in Tokyo by a number of glass cutters, and is based around traditional patterns from the period when Tokyo was known as Edo. Edo Kiriko has been in production continually from early 19thC until now, although it has evolved.
This glass is Satsuma Kiriko, a much rarer form of cut glass and one with a difficult history. Satsuma Kiriko was originally made only by the Satsuma clan of Kyushu, and was developed and supported by the feudal lord Shimazu Narioki from around 1820 and continued by his son Shimazu Nariakira. However when Nariakira died in 1854 the production of Satsuma Kiriko ceased and the factory and records of production were lost.
Attempts were made by Kamei during the 1980s to replicate Satsuma Kiriko and start production again, but the attempts were difficult and expensive and resulted in Kamei closing due to bankruptcy.
A small company called Shimadzu succeeded replication by around 1990, and since then it has been the largest producer of modern Satsuma Kiriko.
So how is Satsuma different to other kiriko? Essentially it comes down to the angles of the glass cuts that results in colours not having a clear edge but rather a fade, or have a slight aura around them. This is also possible because Satsuma Kiriko is heavier glass with thicker coloured layers so when the layers are cut at the correct angle one colour fades to another and has no distinct edge.
The cutting angle is important and makes multiple cuts complex, and also complicates the polishing and finishing of the cuts.
The Shimadzu Kiriko company is based on Kyushu in the region that was home to the Shimazu clan. They have perfected the art of Satsuma Kiriko and have developed known old patterns and much newer patterns also. The work is all hand made, from initial blowing through cutting to final finishing, so it is relatively expensive glass. Larger pieces, such as bowls, are well into multiple thousands of dollars to purchase.
I only have two pieces of Satsuma Kiriko, one I purchased in Japan, and this recent arrival. Both are small sake glasses, each different.
I will need to get a photo of my blue one but I hope this piece gives you an idea of Satsuma Kiriko.
I like this one because of the way the red and blue fade, and the almost jewel-like finish to the item.
It is only 5.6cm high but has a large presence!