Akita Filigree

A delicate world of silver wires that are 0.2 mm in diameter.
Akita Ginsen Zaiku is celebrated as one of the artifacts unique to Akita.
This fine technique, which evolved in the feudal government age, comprises traditional work done with precious metals.
Akita filigree dates from 1602 when the first feudal lord of Akita, Satake Yoshinobu, relocated from Hitachi (today’s Ibaraki Prefecture), and an artisan followed him to his new home. Several mines within the region produced gold, silver, and copper of good quality. Successive lords had been protecting them, which encouraged the development of handicrafts and weapons using gold and silver.
After the Meiji era, some in Akita hired artisans to create filigree products, which were exported to other prefectures. As a result, the fame of Akita filigree spread throughout Japan. The industry deteriorated in 1940, when the country imposed regulations on making and selling luxury goods. However, after the war, Akita filigree was revived in the form of products exported overseas, and a new generation of artisans were trained.
Before the war, Akita filigree included gold and silver handicrafts, such as filigree and items created using hammering and metal-carving techniques. The traditional products made included smoking pipes, hairpins, vases, ornaments, and drinking glasses. In recent years, various ornaments such as brooches and pendants, and decorative objects such as jewel boxes and architraves, have been made with filigree as the main decoration.