Artist: TADAKAZU TANAKA and YAS TANAKA
Orchid Gallery: http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/jiazi.htm
"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.