tankin (metalwork) in 2015 and is the first woman master metalworker to be awarded this honour." />

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Tracing Venice

Yukie Osumi


Master metalworker Yukie Osumi typically uses silver sheets and mallets to create her forms, characterised by their modern design and gold or lead inlay. Born in Shizuoka prefecture, Yukie Osumi graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1969. She studied under several masters after leaving university, including Sekiya Shiro, himself an Important Intangible Cultural Property holder, and in the United Kingdom. She has mastered the complicated traditional Japanese technique of metal inlay known as nunome zōgan. Osumi aims to make the invisible stand still through her work, capturing the ephemeral, and giving pertinence to transition. She was designated a National Living Treasure of Japan for tankin (metalwork) in 2015 and is the first woman master metalworker to be awarded this honour.

National Living Treasure - the category of metalwork
Japanese government

Yukie Osumi will first form a metal vessel by hand, usually from sheets of silver. She shapes the sheet by beating it repeatedly. She then decorates the vessel with intricate designs using the nunome zōgan technique. To do so, she will first chisel the metal for the inlay using a customised chisel. She then hammers fine metal strips of gold or lead onto the vessel with the chiselled surface holding the inlay in place. The excess strip of metal is removed with a special knife. She plans the inlay decoration with ink applied with a paintbrush, drawing and erasing her sketch until achieving her vision. The final work is polished using charcoal giving it its final reflective quality. Her designs are often inspired by nature, especially the movement of rolling waves or the patterns of wind blowing through the mist over water.

Technique Nunome zōgan Style Tankin Objects The Ateliers of Wonders Exhibition 12 Stone Garden Exhibition Contact
Tokyo, Japan

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