Tsubame Tsuiki DokiTsubame Beaten Copperware

It is said that copper utensil business of swallow district began from place where jackleg of Sendai conveyed the technique in the middle of Edo era. Using copper produced from local Yahiko mountain, kettles were produced.
Technology exchanges with each place became popular after the Meiji Restoration and established position as art industrial art object including metal engraving technology. This became base of development of metalwork business of today's Tsubame-shi, Niigata.

Beaten copper work really began in the Tsubame area during the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) when specialists from Sendai in present-day Miyagi prefecture come to the area and passed on their skills. Kettles were some of the first articles made using copper from a locally mined source.
During the latter part of the 19th century there was an active exchange of ideas and techniques with other areas and Tsubame Tsuiki Doki became established as an art craft to include the use of chasing. Subsequently this led to the development of a metal processing and treatment industry centered on the city of Tsubame.

Beaten copperware is best exemplified by the ability of a skilled craftsman to turn a single sheet of copper into a three-dimensional object simply by beating it with a hammer. The most highly skilled part of this work being the integral forming of a spout from the same single sheet when making a kettle. Water jugs, teapots, tea caddies and coasters are some of the other items now made alongside many other household articles including cooking pans, kettles, jugs, sake flasks and cup as well as a range of stationary items.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Molding is thing by any of the following.

    When look good with "launching thing", thing by any of the following.

    "We sound the whole" and, "turn each other" or "implantation," "filling" do "finish run-in".

    "We sound the whole" and, "hill last joke," "we make omen" do "finish run-in".

    After having done "barrel slipshod manufacture" when we look good with "spatula diaphragm thing", "filling" "sounds the whole" and do "finish run-in".

    After "we raise nail" and having joined length part and bottom by "brass wax charge account" when we look good with "board rolled drapery", "filling" do "whole run-in" and "finish run-in".

    Thing by "we crimp" or "tack stop" "brazing" using silver, brass, tin or solder when we join parts.

    When do decoration, thing by any of the following.

    When "you defeat wood block" and look good, perform using hammer or graver by manual labor.

    When encounter metal engraving, thing by manual labor.

    When is in setsu*, "openwork" of design and "crest gold structure" are things by manual labor using coping saw or chisel for inscribing a sword. In addition, perform "silver solder charge account" of crest iron.

    When look good with "surface alloy", thing by manual labor.

    "The black coloration" "smokes" "stew" in geosuru case in color; or is thing by "spotted red spot of copper utensils".

    Raw materials

    Basis material of metal assumes copper or silver, and it is said that silver purity is more than nine hundred and twenty five-1000ths.

  • Work scenery

    Production process varies according to forms of copper utensil a little. We want to see basic flow with production of water boilers here. Process models copper sheet and is classified roughly to sheet metal molding, decoration processing, four of finish. Above all, technique of "metal beating" by sheet metal molding needs perception and mastery of skills most, and it may be said with life of this industrial art object. We beat one piece of copper sheet or beat, and we beat, and, shrinkage, the wonderful molding beauty is born from repetition of kin rasu work. It is traditional technique that there is not when copper delicate elasticity and hardness to have are not felt like the body.

    Process 1: We beat and wake up

    We use pure copper or pure silver for metal. At first we model copperplate and do and begin in place cutting according to the dimensions. We swat in expectation, wooden hammer to stand of tree with mysterious dent and we hit side part and wake up. Some kinds are in this hollow and they hit the side or beak and use properly by part to wake up. To conditions of strength and expansion and contraction of copper sheet, you must delicately adjust strength and angle to beat against mallet. Technique almost crystal of such experience and perception following "beat diaphragm" "even molding" is necessary.

    Process 2: We beat and squeeze

    We hang copper sheet which beats in wooden hammer, and was raised on metal fittings called "chicken mouth" (we take and die) and are work that we hit with hammer and draw. These metal fittings are called another name, our money (expectation Gane), and we are used properly in various ways by form of product and they insert and are used for hole of zelkova stand made called "rise board" which we made with zelkova. We clap gold skin and swat, and beak of water boiler is finally formed.

    Process 3: Anneal

    As we stiffen when we swat generally, we put in the heating tool and soften skin. Organization changes when we heat to around 650 degrees and softens. They hit, and diaphragm and annealing dozens of times are repeated until we swat gold skin which became soft in hammer more, and shape is completed.

    Process 4: Molding

    We take overall irregularity, distortion and prepare gold skin while coordinating balance and beak of the body. Skin is charged with light so as to swat.

    Process 5: Metal engraving

    We defeat wood block, and decoration such as inlay (technique to inlay, and to fit gold and silver in) is added to the surface of copper utensil. We draw small design using graver and carve and propose. In this way, dignified activeness is created in solid copper feel of a material by adding metal engraving and surface alloy.

    Process 6: We finish with the coloration

    We let we soak copper utensil into solution, and the surface cause chemical change. Tasteful feel of a material is created on gold skin by doing it this way. Colorism has two kinds of black system and red system.
    At first, in black system, we paint the surface with tin (bell) and we bake once and hit and sound at 800 degrees. And we stew with copper green rust and mixture of copper sulfate for several minutes after dipping into sulfuration potassium liquid, and having improved in polishing powder. Copper utensil of colored black system wears unique deep dark purple brightness said to, "Kaneko is colored" in the body in this way.
    Red system brings about bright red-yellow to be said to be "*tokushoku" by stewing to copper green rust and mixture of copper sulfate for several hours from dozens of minutes.


  • Close-up

    Mysterious brightness tsubametsuchikidoki which mallet produces

    Tsubame Tsuiki Doki which changes color taste in trick of the light. Mysterious luster to dwell in the skin glistens as much as metal beating craftsman proposes. Copper warmth to adjust to hand skin with moisture adds to luster so as to embezzle.


    Origin of metal beating copper utensil

    Tsubame-shi, Niigata that is famous as town of Western dishes. The skill of coming metal beating copper utensil still breathes here from old days of Edo. It features flexible curve and decent design forged only with mallet by one piece of only copperplate. We hear sound to beat copperplate with perception, angry perception furiously when we visit the studio. We beat with "mallet" with metal beating and come from the "ki" word spending. We beat even if we say that we beat with a word and wake up, and we hit, and checkmate, and we hit, and it seems to be kin, and there is various technique such as (we clap), and you must use properly for the purpose of anvil stick and hammer, wooden hammer called chicken Exit (we take and die) in total, and high technique is required.

    Process of forming before interference water note being completed from one piece of copper sheet. It seems to turn out that we learn how to make if it becomes mastery of skills

    We hit expertise and wake up

    "We beat, and waking up can form work only after eyes, ear, hand agreeing. It is Goro Hosono who polished the skill of metal beating more than 40 years that tell, we judge from sound whether mallet hits one point which copper sheet touches chicken mouth with properly. You add innumerable mallets and chicken mouth of 200 kinds and conditions of strength and expansion and contraction of copperplate and choose and must delicately adjust strength and angle to hit mallet. It is mouth repousse water note made from one piece of copper sheet that can say the collected studies of these repousse technology. "Difficult place is how to get balance of mouth and trunk. Above all, it is the most difficult to beat, and to raise part of mouth. Hindering to fail because the upper part of mouth becomes thin by all means occurs. Hosono says, only expert craftsman can deal with this interference water note. On the surface which beats, and repeated raising of hundreds of thousands of times, the mellow feel that was totally similar to earthenware appears.

    Repousse scenery of copper utensil. If mallet is one point which copper sheet touches chicken mouth with, "good sound" seems to do

    Attraction of luster that coloration finish brings

    It is process called "coloration finish" to add tasteful feel of a material to this surface. We let the surface cause chemical change using copper green rust and mixture and sulfuration potassium liquid of copper sulfate. "States of color water (solution to use for the coloration) are different then on that day. Color water is worn-out whenever we use, and power to change color gradually disappears. Therefore you let you take a rest to some extent and must adjust again. It is very difficult to make this color water state of just right balance. Deep hue dwells in skin, and metal engraving and surface alloy, moyoda chinadono decoration are added to this and give work dignified activeness in this way.

    All surrounding oneself is reference

    We asked Master of Traditional Crafts, Kaoru Yamakawa who inherited the skill of metal beating almost crystal of this experience and perception the essence of metal beating copper utensil. "It seemed to be kin (flattening the surface) and has been said final stage (fixing form) six years in old days for three years. Some time is necessary to polish the skill of metal beating. However, technique turns around about motivation and research feeling of the person. Also, it was sense to be important, and Yamashita who talked so polished own sense through photograph above all. We learned how to put intervals from photograph and seemed to make use in the making of metal beating copper utensil. Yamashita says that all surrounding oneself serves as a reference.

    Metal beating copper utensil which adds to brightness in living

    If various metal beating copper utensils are natural, we adapt ourselves to before life of Yamashita. Including vase in water note from teapot, saucer for a teacup to brazier. From art industrial art object to container used for daily life, we are surprised to world area of metal beating copper utensil some other time. "Water note using now is thing of 1953 production. This is my first work. We care for copper utensil, and taste rises. It becomes mellow, and, as for the tea which attachment is born simply because we work hard, and was poured with teapot of copper utensil, taste becomes more attractive by effect of metal ions still more every day. Metal beating copper utensil produced in technique such as magic shows the true value in life.

    We give off the flavor depth sufficiently even if put in daily life alone

    Craftsman profile

    Kaoru Yamashita

    It was born in 1930.
    We continue working for 50 years from 1949. When person to employ wants to make surprising original design, we are determined.


    Tools clogged up with wisdom of ancient people

    Let's introduce some tools used for Tsubame Tsuiki Doki. At first "chicken mouth" (take, and die). We hang copper sheet which hits with wooden hammer, and was raised on these metal fittings and we hit with hammer and squeeze. It is called another name, our money (expectation Gane), and we are used properly in various ways by form of product, and the number goes up to several hundred kinds. We insert, and this chicken tongue is used for hole of zelkova stand made called rise board which we made with zelkova.
    Mallet has things of various sizes to use. When we fix form for time and finish to hit flat copper sheet, and to cause, wooden hammer is used. Touch mallet eyes, and, as for the hammer, "final stage mallet" creating form of the body cleans skin; "kin and others do, and mallet" touches design on skin; "damage, and, in addition, mallet," there are mallets for metal engraving.
    A great variety of tools are necessary to finish one metal beating copper utensil except that we gave as above. Even if it takes tool nothing, it does not need to say that each is clogged up with wisdom of ancient people.

    • We let expression of hammer feel the accumulated history. Photograph "damage mallet"

    • We sit down on rise board made of this zelkova, and work is continued silently



Industrial art object name Tsubame Tsuiki Doki
Phonetic symbol We come carelessly, and how does swallow come?
Classification of industrial art object Metalworking product
Main product Tea set, kitchen utensils, bottle and cup, stationery
Main production area Niigata / Tsubame-shi
The designation date June 22, 1981

Contact information

■local production associations

Swallow copper utensil industrial arts association
Tsubame-shi, Niigata swallow 3064
Tamagawa temple
TEL: 0256-62-4857
FAX: 0256-64-5945

■Associated exhibit space, facility


"Metal beating" means that we beat with mallet (soil) and wake up. We make up that we hit one piece of flat copper sheet with mallet in three-dimensional form repeatedly. There is high technique that we can propose to part of beak of thing with beak like kettle.

The word “Tsuiki” in Tsubame tuiki doki means to hammer a shape out of copper. From a single flat sheet of copper, through repeated hammering, the final three dimensional shape is achieved. Even items with a spout, such as tea-kettles, are hammered from the same sheet of copper, revealing the depth and mastery of the craft.

How to make

We catch copper utensil on tool called our iron money (expectation Gane) and squeeze while hitting with mallet and, from plate form to barrel, mold as bag form more. Meanwhile, we do annealing (we bake and cool down) to put in the heating tool as copper is tense, and to soften. Form finishes these work repeatedly in turn. After making decoration on this by metal engraving, and having fixed appearance with mallet eyes (soil) design, we stew with liquid which put copper green rust (copper green rust) and copper sulfate together and color.

The copper sheet is first laid over an iron planishing stake, and copper is gradually shaped into a cylinder and then its final form by hammering it at different angles against the stake. As the hammering process hardens the copper, it is repeatedly heated in fire to ensure the copper stays soft for molding. These steps are repeated continuously until the final shape is achieved. The copper is then engraved with decorations, given hammered patterns, and finally boiled in a solution of copper verdigris and copper sulfate to give the copperware its unique color.

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