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Famous Japanese 'Golden Craft Art' attracts tourists

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Kanazawa | May 25, 2020 5:41:46 PM IST
This thin sheet of gold is called Kinpaku in Japanese. It is symbol of wealth and prosperity.

For the last 400 years Kanazawa City has been famous for this traditional craft of making gold leaf, and today 99 per cent of Japan's domestic gold leaf is produced here.

Though the city produces many traditional crafts, gold leaf is the most eye-catching one.

Originally, the gold leaf was used only for religious purpose with more than 80 per cent being used for Buddhist altar. It was also woven into kimono, obi and their accessories, and used in arts and crafts. But now, there are attempts to develop new uses of the gold leaf, such as in food, cosmetics and architecture.

Kinpaku workshops in Kanazawa have developed a high-level technique to produce a gold leaf that is one ten thousandth of a millimeter.

The process is simple but time consuming. It starts with a small square sheet of gold placed in between stacks of paper.

The gold is then hammered with a special machine for several days and each day the gold becomes thinner and thinner and by the end of the hammering process, we get an incredibly thin leaf of gold that you can almost see through it.

"Coating with gold is a difficult process and it depends on the quality of the gold leaf. So using high quality thin gold leaf results in perfect coating. The way to tell about its quality is by seeing if it moves smoothly with the air," said a gold leaf craftsman.

Higashi Chaya is a famous traditional district in Kanazawa city. This Edo style street is a popular destination among tourists.

Here, many shops sell gold coated souvenirs made from beautiful gold leaf like lacquer ware, calligraphy paintings, cosmetics and several other products.

Few shops even offer food items covered with paper-thin gold leaf, like gold covered ice-cream which is very popular among visitors.

With its rich history of gold craft, Kanazawa is proving its status as the gold capital of Japan. (ANI)

 
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