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Choosing the wood and making a rough sketch.

The type of wood used is hinoki cypress. In drawing the rough sketch, great pains are taken at first to draw the center line accurately, and then the position of the eyes and nose is sketched in.

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(2) @ Using the eyes and nose that were roughly sketched as a guide, the carving process is begun. The head shown here is only 80% finished, so it is a little larger than the completed work.
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The mechanism

When the carving is finished, the solid head is split into two blocks just in front of the ears, the insides are hollowed out, and the mechanisms for moving the eyebrows and eyes are added.

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The head and the dogushi stick

The head and the dogushi stick are then attached to the throat stick (nodo-gi).

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Painting and completion

When the head has been completely finished, it is painted many, many times with gesso (a white base known as gofun, made from the powdered seashells that have been mixed with fish glue called nikawa). The same head is sometimes later repainted if used for a different character.



Copyright 2004, by the Japan Arts Council. All rights reserved.
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