Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Some very fine nanako

If you were determined enough to read through that whole essay I just posted then I suppose you deserve some eye candy. So here you are, nanako as perfectly executed as it gets.

This is one of the fuchi from the koshirae I described in the post below. Shakudo with gold foil rims and gold kamon ( family crest ) of kissing butterflies ( mukai-chocho ).


Fred Zweig said...


The making of the nanako has always facinated me. My pitiful attempts to produce it have given me a great respect for the process. I have heard conflicting descriptions of process.

The first uses a simple small beading ling like tool that allows you to form bead by individual bead. That is the technique I used and it is difficult to keep the rows straight and extremely time consuming.

The second method uses a punch with three hollows in a triangular pattern to make registration easier. Though much of the nanako I have examined does not allow for the use of a tool like this since the possitioning of the beads do not have the stacked triangular orientation.

Have you seen any documentation on how it was done?


Lorenzo said...

Fred, I have a japanese book about goldsmith. Unfortunatly it is all written in japanese, but there are a lot of pictures about nanako and how to prepare the necessary tools. On that book i saw a pattern punch with 3 rows and 3 columns of holes, total 9 holes.
My wife has not a lot of time, but, she is translating that book for me, i hope in the future to be able to give more usefull informations.

Ford Hallam said...

Hi Fred, Lorenzo,

I have the book Lorenzo mentions and in my opinion I would suggest that the multiple imprint punches are not practical at all. It is very clear from examining old nanako that each dimple is made with an individual punch strike. Sorry, just no short cuts here ;-), just painstaking attention to accuracy, one at a time.

The biggest problem with multi punches is the amount of force you would have to use to get them all the imprint cleanly, it just can't work on relatively delicate metal objects that are supported in pitch. So while it looks like a clever solution at first glance the actual application is impossible.

Lorenzo said...

I see. Thanks Ford. I bought some stone setting punch at arai shoten in Tokyo, wanted to use for nanako but with almost no result.. i think it is impossible to buy a finished tool.. Does i am wrong?