Clay Plaster in Japan: Inspiring Video Documentary

by ziggy on October 11, 2017 -- 1 comment -- Follow

I was excited to find this video documentary about Japanese clay plaster as it’s currently being practiced by sakan (a.k.a., traditional plasterers). From what I gather, clay plaster is a niche craft in Japan, but the tradition has been unbroken for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s not practiced as widely as it once was, yet the quality of the work that is done is exceptional. It’s serious business, and absolutely beautiful and inspiring too.

Traditional Japanese Plastering

Kyoto Walls׃ Elegance Molded from Earth highlights a few modern day sakan and their work with clay plasters specifically. (Lime plaster has a long tradition in Japan as well, but that’s not the focus of this video.) Highly skilled craftspeople discussing and doing their work is truly inspiring for me personally. I love this kind of stuff. The high level of refinement on display is particularly fascinating, if not a bit intimidating — just look at how smooth those walls are, eh? Skillz.

Sakan - Japanese plastering

I appreciate the segment about one sakan’s quest to collect a large variety of natural clay colors, in particular. Seeing the full spectrum of gorgeous clay colors in vials makes me want to get my mattock out and start digging for seams.

Japanese platering video 01

The next time you have 28 minutes to spare, consider checking this video out. It’s nothing short of beautiful.  Thankfully, it’s got English narration and subtitles. Highly recommended.

Japanese platering video 00

p.s. Emily Reynolds makes a sweet appearance in the video as well!

Image credit: NHK World

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  • Dan D

    Ziggy, now I can’t stop watching documentaries from Core Kyoto about all kinds of Japanese artisan traditions. So inspiring!

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