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Nikko-bori: Nikko carving

March 04, 2014

The most impressive characteristic of this woodwork is the use of a unique v-shaped gouge called a “hikkaki.” This is a special tool used by hand with a bent tip. During restoration of the Shinto shrine Nikko Tosho-gu, the triangular shape of the end made it ideal to be utilized as a tool to scrape off the difficult to remove varnish.

At the end of the Edo period, this tool began to be used in carving and was known by the names of “hikkaki” (scratcher), “hikkaki-tou” (scratching blade), and “nikko sankaku-tou” (Nikko triangular blade).

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