Hikone ButsudanHikone Household Buddhist Altars

Because it was in the middle of the Edo era and recommended to armorer, painter (master), worker with high technique in Hikone feudal clan to leave production of arms, and to be engaged in production of Household Buddhist Altars , the making of Household Buddhist Altars began as small household industry from that time.
The system as production center of Hikone Butsudan was set by Buddhism having spread out and Hikone feudal clan having protected the making of Household Buddhist Altars , and it was the basics of current development afterwards.

Gradually during the 18th century, highly skilled armorers, lacquerers and other artisans were encouraged by the Hikone clan to work on the making of household altars, at first more or less as a ""cottage industry"". Subsequently with the rise in popularity of Buddhism and the patronage of the Hikone clan, a production center became established, forming the foundations of the small craft industry as it exists today.

While the household altars built in and around Hikone are certainly large, grand and imposing, they still retain a dignified air even when scaled down. Function, too, is not overlooked as a stationary box and stand are incorporated to house essential paraphernalia associated with the use of one of these altars.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Structure of "bare wood" is sectional thing by "tenon composing type".

    Palace structure is thing by "Masu composing type".

    When the painting assumes purified lacquered hand coating and looks good with "getting out grain of wood coat", do "roiro finish".

    Do gold leaf push by "mat push".

    Raw materials

    Assume bare wood material having materials which are equal to hinoki, cedar, zelkova or sen 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

    Process 1: Bare wood

    We make the body of Household Buddhist Altars with wood selected carefully such as cedar, pine, hinoki. We have orthopedic treatment while being careful about sled and torsion of wood in sectional one which does not use nails at all. In addition, we use zelkova and stopper for part to make use of grain of wood in.

    Process 2: Palace (eat we do not appear) handrail

    Palace says part of roof of Household Buddhist Altars . As it is small part, we use Himekomatsu and soft wood including deep red pine. We assemble while being careful about balance of roof. Handrail becomes part establishing Sumeru that is just located in central part.

    Process 3: Sculpture

    We take carving type of bare wood and palace and copy to sculpture bare wood. We write sketches such as flower, Rakan, God's will and human affairs, Bodhisattva, the birds and beasts, family coat of arms with pencil there and do barbarity. Using chisel, we do final stage of carving. Thickness of sculpture becomes 2.5-4 centimeters. As we join two pieces or three pieces together in bamboo nail, and stack carving repeats, it is in thickness of 2.5-9 centimeters and may start three-dimensional impression more.

    Process 4: *kingu

    Of hair carving metal fittings of superficial metal engraving, three-dimensional metal engraving pillar and horizontal piece of timber part on ground carving metal fittings to use as decoration metal fittings, the middle relief metal fittings. We do hand-carving using graver to copper and brass version. We plate and reach puberty and process and finish.

    Process 5: Lacquering

    We perform lacquering of bare wood, palace handrail, all bare wood of sculpture. We paint with lacquer with groundwork, lacquering, ryoshokushijo and three phases. When we dry lacquer omurode, we improve in whetstone and we are dried more and paint with lacquer. It is repeated carefully over and over again, and we begin, and lacquered luster comes out.

    Process 6: Lacquer work

    We attach sketch to lacquer work board. We heap up lacquer by writing brush to design. We dry murode by design twice after having heaped up three times. We pour color lacquer afterwards. After painting part which does not apply color lacquer after drying with lacquer, and painting, and having been crowded with writing brushes uniformly, it sows gold dust and can enter and does line drawing with color lacquer to do the part more clearly. We write in line and point at finish with lacquer.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 7: We foil-stamp gold

    We take up by one piece with bamboo tweezers with joints of gold leaf together and push up lightly without laying emphasis on finger-tip. We take the joint with silk floss which untied slightly why while seeing condition of gold leaf with. We put muroni and are dried for one day and let gold leaf adhere.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 8: Assembling

    We collect one part which finished each process in place and assemble for the last time. We assemble in order of the outside, inner circle, upper architrave, side entrance, side shoji, large pillar, pre-interval carving, ceiling, front shoji, front door.


  • Close-up

    Handwork Hikone Butsudan of Omi

    Collected studies Hikone Butsudan of Japanese Traditional Craft by seven specialist jobs. We say that it takes what and time of one year until one Household Buddhist Altars is completed.
    Household Buddhist Altars structure to need various processes and craftsmen. We heard story from Yukio Funakoshi of Rev. lacquer work this time.


    We attach color to Household Buddhist Altars

    It is lacquer work of flowers and birds and family coat of arms on part of drawer and set of folding doors. We write sketch with lacquer and sow gold dust and silver dust, shellfishs in the top and we polish last and finish. Funakoshi who paints each line without relaxing talks about this work while centralizing nerve that it is "work to go reverse in the times". We can still meet Household Buddhist Altars feeling warmth of soul simply because there is handwork of careful craftsman of method not to change more than 100 years in the times to push forward the mechanization and speedup.

    We describe in small manner of handling a brush

    A certain life lacquer

    There is tenacity, and lacquer which is easy to vary with humidity gap totally bothers hand of craftsman like creature. For Funakoshi apprenticed to at 15 years old, it is said that this difficult lacquer has let you feel failure as if you keep away from the world of lacquer work. However, as put the body for traditional industry, and touch genuine article; such as beauty and courteousness of lacquer work and dignity, when is attractive, and have begun to notice, "want to make genuine article of oneself by hand"; sank. Many craftsmen might not have iku if lacquer was simple. Because person makes an effort simply because we do not go the way one wants it to. Lacquer tree will live definitely when we think so.

    Pursuit of beauty

    If lacquer work does not digest number, just like most work, we cannot do genuine work. The skill of takumi increases sensitivity and joins for heart of people. For "the ascetic practices era, we made many mistakes. Funakoshi who talks with ken kizugitari and smile until bare wood comes by appearance. Present it; big; lay the foundation. Of finish because polish, and know the best expression of gold leaf and gold dust in advance, moment beautiful most.

    • There are dozens of kinds even writing brush

    • Work tool

    We want to convey warmth of the hand

    Because all is entrusted to manual labor of craftsman, work to advance per day is limited. Therefore we can put thought to one one. Because "we stay permanently, we can neglect with none of the lines," feeling of earnest craftsman is put in one of the lines. And artistic value is born to traditional industrial art object.

    Trip of lacquer work

    We have you know lacquer work widely

    We produce many works including thing which garnished vase or tray with lacquer work with son without remaining only in Household Buddhist Altars . We work on new work while we do exhibition including "lacquer work exhibition of family". As for the ideas such as accessory cases which it puts in the bag, and it can carry, it is a pleasure that full work is born. Because, with accessory which treated lacquer work, friend can be proud of smart fashion.

    Craftsman profile

    Yukio Funakoshi (we filter crucian carp Sachi)

    It was born in November 23, 1940.
    Great veteran of lacquer work ray 45 years.
    We are authorized in February, 1980 by Hikone Butsudan lacquer work section Master of Traditional Crafts.




Industrial art object name Hikone Butsudan
Phonetic symbol hikonebutsudan
Classification of industrial art object Household Buddhist Altars and Fittings
Main product Household Buddhist Altars
Main production area Shiga / Hikone-shi, Maibara-shi
The designation date May 10, 1975

Contact information

■local production associations

Hikone Butsudan business cooperative association
3-8, Chuocho, Hikone-shi, Shiga
Hikone chamber of commerce 3F
TEL: 0749-24-4022
FAX: 0749-26-0559

■We visit production center from foreign countries
Hikone Butsudan - production center visit article

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Hikone Butsudan is large-scale Household Buddhist Altars with luxurious, solemn atmosphere, but what do not give feeling that is tight at all even if it is small Household Buddhist Altars features. In addition, invention is taken finely to be convenient for everyday use and thinks about necessary tool, storing of accessories, and document box and stand are united.

Hikone butsudan is large Buddhist household altar possessing an exquisite and solemn feel and its characteristic is that even the small-scale one never give the feeling of being boxed in. Furthermore, they are cleverly designed for convenient daily use and integrated with filing cabinets and stands for storing the necessary tools and accessories.

How to make

Hikone Butsudan has seven processes. 1.We produce Class trunk, ceiling, unvarnished wood place of pillar in materials of tree of bare wood - - hinoki or cedar. 2.We produce roof rotation to add to the palace (we eat we do not appear)---Household Buddhist Altars inside. 3.We produce decoration department such as carving---ranma. 4.We paint coating----bare wood in with groundwork machined more natural purified lacquer in dust (saw) and finish with a coat and repeat grind and drying each time and ryoshokuma comes last and finishes in (roiromigaki). 5.We put gold leaf on the foil push----inside. 6.We carve metal and gild metal fittings----brass or copper sheet. 7.We use gold dust, silver dust, Kaigara to add to lacquer work magnificence close to----.

Hikone butsudan is built in seven stages. 1. Creation of rough wooden base --- the body, the ceiling and the white wood pillars are made from cypress or cedar. 2. Shrine --- a roof to be attached to the interior of the altar is built. 3. Carvings--- the decorative parts, like the transom and so on, are made. 4. Painting ---- After the wooden base has been given a base coating with polishing powder, intermediate and top coatings of natural refined lacquer are applied, with polishing and drying being repeated each time; a polishing roiro (black) finishing (roiro-migaki) is given at the end. 5. Gold embossing ---- gold leaf is applied to the interior of the altar. 6. Creation of metal fittings ---- brass and copper plates are engraved and gold-plated. 7. Gold-sprinkled lacquering ---- gold powder, silver powder and shells are used to give the altars a luxurious air.

Voice from production center

Please do not touch gold leaf, gold dust. Change of color causes scree. Prevent you from spilling water. One of lacquering and gold leaf causes scree. Overdoing of heating causes breaking and confusion of Kibe.

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