Jump to content

Japanese alloy basics


Jim Kelso

Recommended Posts

I've put up a page mostly to share a chart of alloy and patina formulas but also with some introductory alloy information.

 

The chart was given to me during my first trip to Japan('87) by Prof. Hiramatsu at Tokyo Geidai(Univ. of Fine Arts) metals department. You will see more info if you follow THIS link.

 

Have fun,

 

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
I've put up a page mostly to share a chart of alloy and patina formulas but also with some introductory alloy information.

 

The chart was given to me during my first trip to Japan('87) by Prof. Hiramatsu at Tokyo Geidai(Univ. of Fine Arts) metals department. You will see more info if you follow THIS link.

 

Have fun,

 

Jim

Hi Jim,

 

Thanks for putting this up. I have been interested in these alloys since hearing about them and further excited by seeing the effects of the alloys and patinas you've utilized in your pieces.

 

One question is (being a lapidary and impatient with metal) might there be a alloy/color chart in a pictorial format as in the "Coloring and Patinization of Metals"(?) book. I realize that outside of the hands of a Master results may, probably will, vary and that perhaps the tonal changes with alloy percentages may be of a subtlety beyond my abilitiy to appreciate, still one picture...

 

Second question, might you have a pattern diagram for inro. I have a simple one in a book I've got but am somewhat unclear about the depth of the nesting set up. Rather it seems that the majority of each section is incorporated in acting as a "lid" for the section below and that the bottom of each containment portion is quite high up as related to the external division of each compartment. I am interested in producing a jade inro of 3 pr 4 cases. I am also interested in whether there is a shallow channel to center the cordage top and bottom. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom Finneran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tom,

 

I have not seen a photographic color chart of the alloys. I think it could be useful although photos can be very misleading, and as you suggest, results can vary somewhat, intentionally or not. I've tried, when posting my work here, to give the alloy percentages which can be something of a start. As always, it is experience that tells the tale.

 

As to inro, I might have a better diagram than you have seen which I'll scan later and post. You're right in that the riser(tachiagari) sections are quite deep as otherwise there would be little room in the container. This diagram should make it a little clearer. Soon to follow.

 

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tom,

 

I have not seen a photographic color chart of the alloys. I think it could be useful although photos can be very misleading, and as you suggest, results can vary somewhat, intentionally or not. I've tried, when posting my work here, to give the alloy percentages which can be something of a start. As always, it is experience that tells the tale.

 

As to inro, I might have a better diagram than you have seen which I'll scan later and post. You're right in that the riser(tachiagari) sections are quite deep as otherwise there would be little room in the container. This diagram should make it a little clearer. Soon to follow.

 

Jim

Thanks Jim,

 

The diagram will be helpful.

 

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, here is the diagram. It should be noted that this is for a generic 5 case inro. There are lots of variations. Sometimes the cords go down a groove on the outside.

 

This diagram was taken from Julia Hutt's book Japanese Inro published by Weatherhill ISBN 0-8348-0395-X.

This book has many inro of varied styles from the Victoria & Albert. Beautifully done and very informative.

 

the Japanese terms didn't come through clearly so here they are:

 

Top Surface (ten)

Cord Channel (himatoshi)

Compartment floor (sokoita)

Section (dan)

Riser(tachiagari)

Bottom Surface (chi)

 

post-4-1211505952.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom- I hope you don't mind me chiming in, but I'm not sure an inro of jade would be very true to its nature. These inro are very lightweight, with thin walls and immaculate fit between pieces.

I've seen some modern 'inro' made of wood at craft shows and art fairs and 'morphed' items sold as purses, and they have a coarse, clunky feel to them not at all in keeping with the original nature. Also, consider the original use of being worn at one's side. A heavy jade piece would be swinging and knocking against your hip and thigh and whatever else you walked near.

 

Perhaps a desk-top piece of stacking dishes or compartments would be more appropriate with jade, yet keeping the qualities of inro that attract you?

 

As for your question about cord channels at top and bottom- to my knowledge they don't exist on inro. The cords running up the left and right side channels are gathered at the top by a bead (ojime) and the bottom by a decorative knot.

 

-Doug

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, here is the diagram. It should be noted that this is for a generic 5 case inro. There are lots of variations. Sometimes the cords go down a groove on the outside.

 

This diagram was taken from Julia Hutt's book Japanese Inro published by Weatherhill ISBN 0-8348-0395-X.

This book has many inro of varied styles from the Victoria & Albert. Beautifully done and very informative.

 

the Japanese terms didn't come through clearly so here they are:

 

Top Surface (ten)

Cord Channel (himatoshi)

Compartment floor (sokoita)

Section (dan)

Riser(tachiagari)

Bottom Surface (chi)

 

post-4-1211505952.jpg

Jim,

 

Thank you this is helpful. I have a Bushell book on inro but the diagram is only partially complete compared to this one and left me with the question which this answered. The accompanying terminology was an unexpected bonus.

 

Doug and Dick, thanks for the comments. Dick, I remembered there were Tonkotsu in the same book mentioned above, and speaking to Doug's point that may well be the more apppropriate form to be rendered in jade and I may well do one of these first and perhaps only. However, as I do only contemporary, sometimes abstract carving, I'd never intended to ornament the piece myself, I was considering partnering up with one of my metal working friends and applying elements to the surface. Still the tonkotsu is a very appreciated suggestion.

 

Back to Doug (did you go to the 500?), considering doing the Inro was driven by, other than a love for the form, a tool I have, a 2 axis programable mill to be exact. Now we could go into a long discussion on tool driven craftmanship, I've been there, done that, got the tee shirt and the hat. Let me just say that I am loving what I am doing when I am at the carving arbor. The mill and the lathe (I do like the lathe a bit more) are mostly just the means to an end though, sometimes, as in this case (no pun intended) the capability of the tool suggested an end I probably would not have glommed onto otherwise. As to weight, nephrite jade is the toughest of gem materials, basically a mineral felt. I can cut the right piece to sub millimeter thickness though in this instance (almost said case again) it would probably have an outer wall thickness of 2-2.5mm and the containment walls a bit less. So, while certainly heavier than lacquer on wood I do not believe heavy would describe it. I also saw porcelan inro in Bushell's book, this I believe may well be heavier than a jade piece of equal dimensions.

 

Finally in reference to tradition, or appropriatness in that vein. Jade is revered so far as I've seen in all the East. Had the Japanese imported the Chinese lapidary tradition and had a supply of rough material I've little doubt that there would be many examples of inro executed in jade in museums today because as stated above nephrite is unique amoung gems for applications like this. Besides that I am nothing if not an iconoclast.

 

Dick, you got me thinking about doing that ornamentation, i.e. carving on a tonkotsu, maybe...

 

Thanks again all,

 

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom- glad to hear your thoughts. While reading them, I recalled once seeing a small jade teacup with walls thin enough to see your fingers through, so your point on the working properties is well taken. Please show us what your milling machine is capable of- I'm interested!

 

As for the 500...nope-

I lived about 7 miles from the Speedway for years and heard the race (the F1 races are even louder though). Now, I've moved about an hour south and spent the day in the workshop.

 

-Doug

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...