The decorative metal fittings of Sendai Tansu
The decorative metal fittings are the most eye-catching characteristic of Sendai Tansu (chest of drawers). Japanese chests generally have metal fittings include handles and lock plates. In addition to these, Sendai Tansu are strengthened with a total of 200 to 300 metal fittings.
The patterns on the lock plates fixed to each drawer are the most eye-catching. The plates are engraved with beautiful patterns such as a bamboo-and-sparrow motif. They can be cast in a mold or hand-embossed, a skill called “chasing” that only a few craftsmen still possess. Hand-embossed metal fittings are the essence of Sendai Tansu.
A fourth-generation Sendai Tansu blacksmith and chaser
Only a few chasers can produce the decorative metal fittings that are the most beautiful characteristic of Sendai Tansu. Mr. Eikichi Yaegashi is one of those craftsmen. A fourth-generation Sendai Tansu blacksmith and chaser, his grandfather (first generation), father (second generation), and eldest brother (third generation) were also expert blacksmiths and chasers. This highly-refined skill has been passed from generation to generation in the Yaegashi family.
Allow us to introduce you to some of Mr. Yaegashi’s masterpieces.
Beautifully blooming peonies are a traditional pattern for the metal fittings of Sendai Tansu. This piece displays Mr. Yaegashi’s artistic sense.
Arabesque and Chrysanthemum
A combination of arabesque and chrysanthemum designs. While many patterns fell out of use at the beginning of the Meiji period, arabesques survived.
Mr. Yaegashi crafts family crest lock plates by special order, painstakingly preserving the characteristics of each crest.
Mr. Yaegashi crafted this playful piece for a client whose ancestor was a sailor.
This fitting depicts a deer resting in a thicket. Clients have traveled far to visit Mr. Yaegashi’s studio in order to see this piece that overflows with vitality.
This piece pulses with motion. In order to depict the suppleness of the tiger, Mr. Yaegashi used dozens of engraving tools of fractional millimeter sizes.