石見と木彫り【Iwami and Wood Carving】

Today, let’s go southwest in the Sanin District to the port city of Hamada. This is an old area of Japan, and the ancient cultures still exist there. There are many sight-seeing places.


Among them is the impressive Hamada Coast Prefectural National Park. This entire area is such a lovely part of Sanin that all people should visit it. A part of it called Iwami Tatamigaura, is really impressive! This beach was supposed to have been pushed up by an earthquake in the 1870’s. Geologically speaking, it is most interesting, and scenically attractive. The city of Hamada is not really so large, but it is quaint and retains the feeling of old Japan. This area of Japan is “off the beaten path,” and lacks many of the facilities to be found in the big cities. There is no McDonald hamburger there.


However, I love the old Japan with its wonderful art, customs and manners. The traditional art in Sanin is of the simple, natural, and heartfelt type, designed for the people. I really appreciate this feeling! Sadly, however, some of the old ways have been forgotten, like the Iwami Ryu (Iwami Way) netsuke carving. This school was small, but great in talent. One was a woman! They specialized in insects, turtles, frogs, and such animals. Their technique produced unbelievably delicate and fine work, and while they used many materials, they were famous for using boar tusks for their carvings.

しかし、私は、すばらしい芸術、慣習、作法のある古い日本が大好きです。 山陰の伝統工芸は、素朴かつ自然で心温まる、人々のために作られたものです。私にはこの感性をよく理解することができます。 しかし、悲しいことに、石見流の根付け彫りのように古い方法の中には忘れ去られてしまったものもあります。石見流は小さな流派でしたが、才能にあふれていました。その中の一人に女性もいました。昆虫、カメ、カエルを始めとする動物を専門としていた彼らの技術は、信じ難いほど繊細で美しい作品が生み出しました。さまざまな素材を用いましたが、中でもイノシシのきばを彫り物に用いたことで知られました。

I met a wonderful wood carver the other day, who lives in Hamada. He is trying to revive the Iwami Way in carving. If he continues his superior work, he will become very well-known. It is with great hope that I am going to watch his future. I sincerely hope it will be a great one! Right now, he is doing many No masks, that are beautiful! My wish is that he will continue the work of the great master carvers of the Iwami Way, and produce, not only masks, but many lovely netsuke, as well. I have some samples of his netsuke art, and hope to get more of these lovely pieces. Samples of that art are very rare indeed! Work sincerely, Mr. Yanagiyama. I am rooting for you!

先日、私は、石見流の木彫りを再興しようとしていらっしゃる浜田在住の一人のすばらしい木彫の彫刻師に出会いました。先達の仕事を継続していけば、彼の名は知られるようになると思います。大きな希望を胸にこれからの彼を見守っていきたいと思います。彼が偉大な作家になることを心から願います。 現在彼は、数多くの美しい能面の制作に携わっています。私の願いは、彼が岩見流の偉大な熟練彫師の作業を継承し、面だけでなく美しい根付けも数多く作っていってくれることです。私は彼が作った根付けの試供品をいくつか持っていますが、もっとそうした美しい根付けを集めたいのです。そうした根付けはたいへん希少なのです。柳山さん、心を込めて仕事をしてください。応援しています。

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