[In Response to Azmaya's Inban Chopstick Rests]

Azmaya's Inban Chopstick Rests have been available in the Otaru showroom for a while now. Each chopstick rest is handmade in Hasamicho, Nagasaki Prefecture.

If you look closely at the blue patterns, you will see symbols that you often see in everyday life, such as komejirusi (Japanese asterisks) and end marks. These patterns are designed with the motif of symbols collectively called "yakumono," which are used to give meaning to sentences that cannot be expressed by letters alone. The word "yakumono" was originally a printing term meaning "something that concludes." Chopstick rests are tools used to accompany chopsticks, and placing chopsticks on chopstick rests to conclude a meal, etc., are they somehow related? I can't help but wonder if there is a similarity between this and the idea of ending a meal by placing chopsticks on them.

Another thing to note is the "inban" technique, which is also the name of the product. Ceramics and porcelain that are not painted by hand but are decorated with a pattern using a mold are collectively called "inban" or "inban-te," and there are several different types of inban techniques. For example, in the "copperplate transfer" technique, the design is transferred in two stages, from the copperplate to the Japanese paper and from the Japanese paper to the vessel. In the process of making a copper plate, the surface of the copper plate is first scratched with an antiseptic treatment to draw the pattern, and then the plate is immersed in a corrosive solution to corrode only those parts of the plate exposed by the scratching, resulting in the engraving of recesses. From the copper plate made in this way, the pattern is printed on Japanese paper using pigments such as gosu. This Japanese paper is called "transfer paper" or "transfer sheet," and when this transfer paper is moistened and pasted on an unglazed vessel, the printed pigments appear on the surface of the vessel, completing the application of the design. Other known techniques include katagami-surie, in which a paper pattern is cut out and placed on the vessel, and then the paint is applied using a brush, and fukigake-etsuke, in which the paint is sprayed over the paper pattern. Although inban can be said to allow mass production of the same design to a certain extent in terms of the use of molds, the subtle differences in position and shading are a unique aspect of handmade work.

Currently, nine types of chopstick rests are on display and for sale in the Otaru Showroom: "Mameshibori," "Enmusubi," "Komezirushi," "Ippon," "Arigato," "Yukimichi," "Atari," "Asahi," and "Kukigata." You can use several kinds of chopstick rests depending on your mood, or choose your favorite one. Please take a look at the actual pieces and examine them carefully to your heart's content.

Azmaya's Inban Chopstick Rest
Otaru Showroom