Iiyama ButsudanIiyama Household Buddhist Altars

As for the making of Household Buddhist Altars which rooted in town Iiyama of temple from the early period of Edo era, work is subdivided and is produced from parts to assembling consistently in area. Around Household Buddhist Altars shop which should be called production wholesale dealer of Household Buddhist Altars which served as master of finish, production center is comprised.
We are by it being climate suitable for thing, production that were able to easily find thing, raw materials that Buddhism faith of people of Iiyama is warm that Iiyama Butsudan continued until today.

The making of Buddhist household altars became firmly established in the thriving religious community of Iiyama during the beginning of the 17th century. All of the work was done in the area by different craftsmen and then the whole thing was assembled.
At the center of this network of skilled workers were specialist stores, which were both finishers and wholesalers of the altars. The strong belief in the Buddhist faith of the people of Iiyama, the ease with which raw materials could be obtained, and a suitable climate in which to build these complex pieces of cabinetry have all contributed to the sustained production of the Iiyama Butsudan.

A generous use of wood makes the Iiyama Butsudan heavy. The lacquer is of an extremely high quality and the richly multicolored decorative lacquer techniques employed help to give these altars a rich, powerful beauty. Discoloring and general aging can easily be dealt with as all the parts can be disassembled. Several styles of altar are made to meet the requirements of the different Buddhist sects.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Structure of "bare wood" is sectional thing by "regular company of fire fighters".

    Throwing, and doing being bow-shaped.

    Palace structure is thing by "grip of a hand mill ancon".

    The painting perform hand coating of purified lacquer.

    Do gold leaf push by lacquer work and "polish push".

    Raw materials

    Assume bare wood material having materials which are equal to pine, cedar or hoo or these.

    Metal fittings have materials which are equal to copper or copper compound metal or these; being made of metal.

    Assume lacquer natural lacquer.

  • Work scenery

    Woodwork processing and sculpture, lacquering, sheet metal sculpture, gold leaf push. We introduce Iiyama Butsudan nodekirumadeogo where we collected the technical best of Traditional Craft.
    Bare wood is taken so that trees are assembled and assembles palace (eat we do not appear), bow horizontal piece of timber (yuminageshi). Sculpture to material and sheet metal which performed timber conversion at the same time is advanced. When all the woodwork processing is over, it is disintegrated once and paints with lacquer and describes lacquer work and pushes gold leaf. When all parts are prepared, it is assembled last, and Household Buddhist Altars is completed.
    Invention is concentrated in each place that product rerateiru Iiyama Butsudan disintegrates assuming using for a long time and is easy to make the re-painting (washing).

    Process 1: Bare wood (pheasant)

    Because depth characterizing Iiyama Butsudan uses thick tree of Japanese white pine, hinoki, cedar, honoki, wig for bare wood abundantly, we are born. These bare wood is built up by technique called "regular company of fire fighters".
    As pillar and architrave, pillar and board are built well by male and female type (we cross tree of irregularities), confusion of dimensions becomes hard to happen.
    How to build that is easy to perform "washing" that can easily disintegrate is taken.

    Process 2: Palace (eat we do not appear)

    We are made by "grip of a hand mill ancon" (we cross brown alga thing) which is technique peculiar to Iiyama Butsudan. Because it is built by the grip of a hand mill, palace can easily expose just to pull the grip of a hand mill on the resolution. Assembling method that foresaw that we make "washing" here and regenerate has stolen.
    To ancon which becomes several levels, there is buttonhole-like ornament with grip of a hand mill hole running through each layer and inserts various grip of a hand mill only in grip of a hand mill hole. Finally we insert the makeup grip of a hand mill, and grip of a hand mill ancon is completed.
    In addition, it is characteristic of Iiyama Butsudan that bow-shaped horizontal piece of timber called bow horizontal piece of timber (yuminageshi) is devised so that I see "grip of a hand mill ancon" very well.

    Process 3: Sculpture

    We write patterns such as flower, flowers and birds beast, person to material which we made timber conversion and carve in relief using chisel, chisel.

    Process 4: The painting

    We expose bare wood which we assembled once and paint with lacquer. The painting is 3 processes in total. We work as coating, grinder during undercoating, grind and are final coating of lacquer with this lacquer or the ryoshokuurushito rigasarete finish.

    Process 5: Metal fittings

    We give corrosion resistance by the unique plating method using ume vinegar (tokinho) with copper or brass board. As we paste once and are processed not to be damaged, verge of "washing" plates ume vinegar again and can reuse. We copy design on metal fittings and use many gravers properly and carve with complicated design.

    Process 6: Lacquer work (we serve and can wind up) in the bloom of whitewash

    In devised technique, we paint with small whitewash using powder of shellfish and heap up to keep three-dimensional impression in lacquer work and we paint the top with lacquer and drop gold dust. It seems that golden picture rises by this technique, and beauty shines conspicuously.
    Patterns such as peacock, Botan, chrysanthemum, paulownia, Chinese phoenix, lotus, bellflower, bush clover, the hills and rivers, God's will and human affairs, shibori, haze, arabesque are described in lacquer work.

    Process 7: Foil push

    We paint with lacquer and put gold leaf calmly before drying. When wipe gold leaf with silk floss quietly, is beautiful to foil; is shiny. This in Iiyama Butsudan; "polish, and foil-stamp; because put gold leaf by method", can keep beautiful luster forever.

    Process 8: Assembling (assemble)

    Finally we assemble all parts and are completion. Iiyama Butsudan which is made all with handicraft disintegrates and revives newly if we do "washing" and we inherit from generation to generation and can use.


  • Close-up

    Joy Iiyama Butsudan which is appreciated by customer

    Snow is deep, and Iiyama Butsudan which grew up into ground of Iiyama that faith is warm is discerning Household Buddhist Altars which brought about unusual design. Unique technique is made use of in palace (eat we do not appear), bow horizontal piece of timber (yuminageshi) and understands other differences with production center well. One article that is inherited from generation to generation that gives heart of quiet ki kihaga person worshiping of gold Household Buddhist Altars ease.


    Ancestors and the making of furniture that rooted in Via Salaria enshrining Jodo

    Iiyama is town which prospered as castle town since construction of a castle by Kenshin Uesugi of 1579. here located along the Chikuma River was the starting point of ship service and point where it was as "Via Salaria" to carry salt which was apt to be short in mountainous district to. We do not understand reason why Household Buddhist Altars came to be made with here Iiyama well, but it seems to be sure that we descend from Kyo Butsudan. 36 temples come out to short ballad to be handed down to Iiyama. It is warm nature of the locality of faith for a long time. We asked Kazunori Jokai of Iiyama Butsudan business cooperative association vice-director which dealt with Household Buddhist Altars sale in such Iiyama from generation to generation story.


    Unusual general view and invention to have you use for a long time

    "There are various kinds of production centers of Household Buddhist Altars , but they do one Iiyama Butsudan and know." Bow horizontal piece of timber (yuminageshi) which was devised so that I see unique palace (we eat we do not appear) and palace made with grip of a hand mill ancon (we cross brown alga thing) very well is condition when we were appointed as Officially designated Traditional craft products. Consideration is accomplished so that I see decoration very well to eyes of person worshiping.
    "It features rational how to make. Even if it becomes old and is dark, we easily disintegrate and make "washing" (the re-painting) and regain brightness again It is to make that we thought that we are used from generation to generation from the beginning while succeeding to descendant.

    Doll to prepare "grip of a hand mill ancon" of Iiyama Butsudan tradition into

    Because we are intended to thank ancestors

    Much Buddhism denominations coexist to Iiyama. Structures of Household Buddhist Altars are different, but too noisy thing does not seem to be said to be closely every denomination.
    "It is thing in the days of Meiji, but hears story to say that we put one a year same Household Buddhist Altars in a certain village. We seemed to have you buy while scheme was made, and villages helped each other." Gold Household Buddhist Altars surely of value swell. There was relatively cheap Household Buddhist Altars , but was expensive article originally to be equivalent to income for one year of farmhouse recently. People of thick Iiyama of faith spent money on valuable article while accommodating each other.

    Technique that has been inherited from the Heian era

    It "is said that there is technique of basic metal fittings processing from the Heian era. However, we think that you must not be particular only about tradition. In fact Household Buddhist Altars of Iiyama was completed by adopting various techniques." It is Master of Traditional Crafts, Makoto Washimori in charge of the making of metal fittings to talk so. He/she talked while beating copper sheet with graver. "*hori ri" (we kick and overcharge) "means this shooting. Because we carved with design to be used to kick, it was named." When graver is beaten with small rhythm, chopping fine of small half lozenge follows trace which graver went along. Jokai who was by the side saying it was saying "that is not made easy very much though we did it.".
    "We make thing having you worship every day. Saying joy to make appreciated thing is big; as for saying is; Washimori. Jokai nods in the neighbor, too.

    Traditional technique from ancient times to make line engraving with one "*hori ri" graver

    We demand value from good thing, thing usable for a long time

    Add and house circumstances, and small Household Buddhist Altars is made recently as house is not big as much as before. It catches up with least in the popular times to make, and Household Buddhist Altars dealer comes to house of craftsman for New Year holidays, and it is said that we have made rice cake instead. "We can have you use Iiyama Butsudan for a long time make. Saying is the times when thing is easily made throwaway, but it may be revealed good point of Household Buddhist Altars some other time now if value comes to be demanded from thing usable for a long time again; Jokai.

    The work "amount of Kannon-with-One-Thousand-Arms Bodhisattva decoration" of Washimori utilized traditional technique

    Household Buddhist Altars is not merely intended to worship ancestors and person passed away and does invisible Jodo and Amitabha in form, and it is said that it is place to worship, and to do. Household Buddhist Altars which we take materials out of mountain which ancestors protected, and there was is inherited to posterity and continues being worshiped. Solemn Iiyama Butsudan which concentrated design is support of heart bringing up feeling of thanks to ancestors and climate in heart of person worshiping.

    Craftsman profile

    Eagle Makoto Mori

    "We work on the making of work utilized technique of Household Buddhist Altars metal fittings. We exhibit in exhibition and make with aim."

    Household Buddhist Altars dealer, "Shanghai Main Store" executive managing director who last the teens. It "is done of thanks with selling common product and says that it is saying it is different in." by charm of Household Buddhist Altars sale


    Rapid economic growth and Household Buddhist Altars

    So a long time ago it is nikaketenanodesu in the 50s from 1965 that Household Buddhist Altars was sold as for the Iiyama Butsudan appointed in Officially designated Traditional craft products most although I thought that we would be popular very in old days.
    It was limited to a few business magnates in old days that we could put Household Buddhist Altars to set up of amount of money in house. Then not at all whether farming family did not mean to respect ancestors. It is enough 40, Showa, the 50s in one which it worships ancestors well, and it wanted to do which we enter the rapid economic growth period, and Household Buddhist Altars which you were not able to buy even if you want to buy till then came to be able to buy when Japan becomes rich that we became able to carry out the thought that it was not possible for. Money was available, and at first it seemed to be Household Buddhist Altars to have bought.
    There seem to be still many people who, at first, buy Household Buddhist Altars saying "land from ancestors was popular." when we sell and do land, and large amount of money enters. We can ask about thickness of faith. We want to leave feeling to respect ancestors in the next generation.

    • Cityscape which Household Buddhist Altars shop compares with is grand



Industrial art object name Iiyama Butsudan
Phonetic symbol Good
Classification of industrial art object Household Buddhist Altars and Fittings
Main product Gold Household Buddhist Altars
Main production area Nagano / Iiyama-shi
The designation date September 4, 1975

Contact information

■local production associations

Iiyama Butsudan business cooperative association
1436-1, Iiyama, Iiyama-shi, Nagano
Iiyama-shi Kyoto Museum of Traditional Industry
TEL: 0269-62-4026
FAX: 0269-62-4019

■Associated exhibit space, facility


We begin in the late 17th century. Dough uses pine, cedar, Park. We throw regular company of fire fighters dough, bow and do and, by traditional technique such as gold leaf push of grip of a hand mill ancon "polish push" of palace, produce Jodo Shin sect of Buddhism pro-Household Buddhist Altars mainly.

Began in the latter half of the 17th century. Materials used include pine, cedar, magnolia, and more. Mainly buddhist altars for the Jodo Shinshu sect are produced, using such traditional techniques as honkumi-kiji, yumi-nageshi, hijiki-kumimono of Kuden, gold leafing using tsuyadashi-oshi, and more.

How to make

Work is divided into making of metal fittings, other lacquer work, gold leaf push, painting, eight branches until assembling to touch the making of bare wood, sculptures carving decoration such as the making of palace (eat, do not appear), flower or chicken making roof of inner sanctum of Household Buddhist Altars , metal fittings of decoration to make the outside.

The work includes preparing the wood for the exterior, the "kuden" roof of the inner sanctuary of the altar, carving the flower, bird, etc. ornaments, making the metal fittings, as well as "makie" gold and silver lacquer decorations, gold leafing, painting, and assembly. The work is split into eight departments.

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