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[Exhibtion] Jizai at Revere

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts hosts an exhibtion of incredible
mechanical insects and crustaceans in silver, each one hand
fashioned in the tradition of the Tanaka family for generations.

Each object contains dozens of moving parts and taking over a
hundred hours to complete, will be on view at the Academy, at 760
Market Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA. They were created by
Yasuo Tanaka, senior instructor at the Revere Academy, and by his
father, Tadakazu Tanaka. Born in Japan, Yas grew up in California,
where he apprenticed with his father, becoming the sixth generation
in a family of metal workers. In the traditional Japanese art of
Jizai, jewelry techniques are used to create fully articulated
animal objects in metal. The Tanaka collection of Jiazi objects will
be exhibited at the Revere Academy from July 1 to September 30,

Any chance you will put some photos on the your website to see this
are work as many people will not be able to get to San Francisco

I took Fabrication 2 from Yas Tanaka at the Revere Academy a couple
of years ago, and he brought several items to show the class. One
piece was a life-size replica in silver of a lobster, that the
silversmiths in his family had made before World War II for the
emperor (or for someone wealthy and very close to the emperor). It
was one of the the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. The lobster
had all his parts, and they all were hinged and jointed and moved.
It was a perfect replica of lobster – it just happened to be made of
silver, not organic material.

Please go see the exhibition if you have a chance.


We have received a number of requests for images. Currently we are
documenting the work and will post a small gallery of images.

Watch this space.
Alan Revere

Orchid Gallery:

“JIZAI” (articulated objects) refers to the animal-shaped objects
that were made mainly of iron with joints, which allow flexible
movements as if they were alive. These objects are constructed using
special techniques of hinges, rivets and gears.

This craft of “Jizai” dates back as far as 1713, and it was in the
Meiji era that this technique was passed down to the Tomiki Family
of Noto, with the founder Munekazu followed by Muneyori. Munenobu,
and Muneyoshi, and Munekazu’s pupils, Muneyoshi and Muneaki.They
produced many metal works which were exported overseas by the
trader, Takase Kozan,who was related to the Tomiki Family.

Tadakazu Tanaka, currently residing in California , U.S.A. , is the
only son of the above-mentioned Muneyoshi. and he has continued his
late father’s techniques by crafting “Jizai” objects that have
evolved to silver in material instead of iron. Tadakazu Tanaka
(Munetada.) and his cousin Akira Tomiki (Muneyuki. residing in Kyoto
) are the only living heirs today in the art of “Jizai.” However, it
should be noted that Tanaka/Munetada’s only son, Yasuo Tanaka who
works in Oakland, California as a contemporary-style goldsmith, has
been given the name Muneyasu and is working with his father to
further continue the original craftsmanship of “Jizai” which would
otherwise perish after Munetada and Muneyuki.

Complete Story:

Hello Alan

Could you also post a schedule of days of week and hours when this
will be open. I’ve got a few days in Aug and look forward to seeing


The Jizai collection of Yasuo Tanaka and his father is on display at
the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts until October 1, 2004. The
Academy is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. To visit on
the weekend, please call ahead.

This is a wonderful collection. Please come and see it.

Alan Revere

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570