Monday, February 16, 2009

Japanese wood joinery part deux

I last posted a blog about Japanese wood joinery, and I've continued my research into the subject. Wood crafts flourished in Japan, because wood was plentiful, but still there were some masonry structures as well, mostly for tombs and later for parts of castles. Most common structures were mostly made from wood though. Later when Buddhist temple construction was introduced to Japan, the woodcraft made a large technological advance. This new leap in Japanese wood working was moved further by the endorsement of a new political regime which sponsored its development and education of a new generation of craftsman.
Also in the over thousand years of woodworking tradition in Japan, one must realize the development of woodworking as in pertains to architecture. Mainly the fact that the Japanese islands experience frequent seismic events, and light wood construction makes more sense than heavy masonry construction in such an environment. Also this explains the complexity of Japanese wood joinery as simple joints would fail in such seismic events, new more complex and stronger joint designs would be made. Remember that these joints have no glue or fasteners to keep them in place, only gravity and tension or compression from the geometric layout of the structural system.
I think it is important to stop and realize the history of a craft like woodworking. Japanese woodworking is a tradition with a long history which has developed into the complex and elegant trade that it is today.
(Sorry, no pictures this time; it's hard to find decent pictures of Japanese wood joinery online.)
Next time, the best woodworking tools or any craft related tools that exist today! Yes, it comes from Japan. No, I'm not Japanese, but you have to give credit where credit is due! or it might just be Japanese wood joinery part san (that's three in Japanese).


Squerl said...

Very good follow up. I want to see more pix if you can find them. Squerl

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