Satsuma Glass Crafts
Rediscovering the lost art of Satsuma Kiriko
Satsuma Kiriko is a highly regarded form of cut crystal glass that was first produced under the orders of the 28th head of the Shimadzu family, Nariakira. Satsuma Kiriko is made by layering coloured glass over clear glass, and carefully cutting patterns into the outer layer. Master craftsmen use specialized cutting techniques which make the coloured glass appear to melt into the clear glass below. With the sudden death of Nariakira, and the destruction of the workshops during the Anglo-Satsuma War of 1863 and Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, production of Satsuma Kiriko was stopped and the glass blowing and cutting techniques were lost. Over a hundred years later, with the support of Kagoshima Prefecture, Shimadzu Ltd. began a project to recreate Satsuma Kiriko. In 1985 Shimadzu Limited began research into reproducing Satsuma Kiriko and built a workshop the following year. After intensive research into the original techniques, production was started, and in 1989 Satsuma Kiriko was named a Traditional Cultural Craft Product by Kagoshima Prefecture. Satsuma Kiriko continues to develop, and new products such as the dual layered “Nishiki-e” series continue to be developed. Over one hundred years after Satsuma Kiriko vanished, it is once again at the pinnacle of Kagoshima’s traditional craftsmanship.