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SAKAN is highly profound work; it needs accumulated experience, skillfulness, and fortitude. Quality, speed, aesthetics, and personal character of artisans deeply affect the finished coating. Almost all SAKAN artisans on the one hand evaluate the tradition, and use try and error in order to develop it on the other. They do not only understand each of their materials and tools, but also do their job meditating about their work as a whole.
The ART of SAKAN is indispensable for Japanese traditional architecture.
The Origin of SAKAN
The origin of SAKAN can be traced back to the Jomon era (14,000BC-300BC) when people lived in pits. At that time, clay was the most easily acquired material. Jomon people rolled it into round objects, and made dirt walls by piling them up. This was the very beginning of SAKAN construction.
In Asuka era (592-710), SAKAN construction was highly developed, because a lot of skills were practiced such as whitewashing and making walls made of thinly divided wood.
In the Aduchi-Momoyama era (1573-1603), colored clay became used for tearooms. It had been made possible not only to control the color of clay, but also to express its color in various ways by mixing it with sand and fiber.
In the Tokugawa [Edo] period (1603-1868), shikkui coatings were invented, which meant covering a whole wall with shikkui. Shikkui is often expressed as “breathable walls”. This saying means that shikkui is good at adjusting humidity and deodorizing rooms. Also the shikkui coating was far more resistant to fire, and made Japanese buildings highly aesthetic.
The shikkui coating, afterward, diffused into a storehouse of merchants and a tradesman’s house. Even shikkui sculpture had been done.
In this period, the SAKAN skill was highly developed as an art form. After the Meiji Restoration (1868), SAKAN coatings were used for new Western-style buildings.
Even now, SAKAN skill plays an indispensable role when building the architecture in Japan, by using newly invented materials and method of construction.
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