Stunning artisanal products representing the pinnacle of Kagoshima craftsmanship
The Sengan-en Brand Shop introduces the pinnacle of Satsuma craftsmanship set against the sumptuous backdrop of Kinko Bay and active volcano Sakurajima.
At the end of the Edo period (1603–1868), the 28th head of the Shimadzu family, Nariakira, began several projects intended to raise the cultural and economic profile of his homeland at the Shuseikan factory complex, now a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Among these products were stunning Satsuma Kiriko crystal glass and highly decorated Satsuma-ware pottery. The Sengan-en Brand Shop brings these unique artisanal items together with products carefully carved from 1,000-year-old cedar wood from World Natural Heritage Site Yakushima.
Satsuma Kiriko is a kind of cut crystal glass first created in Kagoshima in 1851 by the 28th head of the Shimadzu family, Nariakira. By combining Chinese techniques for layering coloured glass, European cut glass patterns and the knowhow of craftsmen from the capital Edo, a new and unique kind of cut crystal glass was created.
With the death of Nariakira in 1858, and the destruction of the workshops during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, production of Satsuma Kiriko was stopped and the glass blowing and cutting techniques were lost for over 100 years.
In 1985 Shimadzu Limited began research into reproducing Satsuma Kiriko and built a workshop the following year. After painstakingly studying the original pieces, dedicated craftsmen brought Satsuma Kiriko back into the world, and it continues to evolve today.
The history of Satsuma-ware begins with the Japanese invasions of Korea during the Bunroku and Keicho periods (1592–1598). The 17th head of the Shimadzu family, Yoshihiro, brought Korean potters back to Kagoshima and had them produce fine white Shiro Satsuma, and the more rustic earthen coloured Kuro Satsuma pottery.
Towards the end of the Edo period (1603–1868) Shimadzu Nariakira ordered kilns to be built at Sengan-en, producing a new, highly decorated form of Satsuma-ware which was designed to appeal to Westerners, and ultimately become a product for export. Modern Satsuma-ware was displayed at the 1863 Paris World’s Fair and 1873 Vienna World’s Fair to critical acclaim and became an early influence on the Japonism movement in Europe.
A selection of high quality products made from the highly valued cedar called Yakusugi.
Yakusugi refers to cedar trees that grow naturally on the island of Yakushima. Yakushima cedars commonly live for more than 2,000 years, and their wood is extremely precious and highly sought after. To survive in a hot and humid environment, the trees developed an abundance of antibacterial resin, preventing against rotting and giving their wood a lustrous shine and gentle fragrance.