NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Producing sounds of ”Wabi Sabi” ”Uozumi Iraku, ”Dora” Artist”

Producing sounds of ”Wabi Sabi”
”Uozumi Iraku, ”Dora” Artist”

”Dora” of the tea ceremony world

People may be surprised to hear that a ”dora”or gong is used for tea ceremonies. It is rung loudly before the guests enter the tearoom.
It is a basic tea tool used by all tea schools, regardless of school differences.
It is said that the ”dora” was imported to Japan by Hideyoshi Toyotomi from China. It was originally used in war, but later the sound was later adopted in tea ceremonies.

Vibration of the low clear tone

Both physical strength and delicate skills are necessary to create the vibrant sound of the ”dora”. This is what we were told by Iraku Uozumi who is a designated Important Intangible Cultural Asset holder.
When struck, a low clear tone vibrates, resonating in your body.
The ”dora” is made with a metal alloy called ”sawari” which is a combination of bronze and tin. The heated metal is poured into a mold to create the standard prototype. Not every item can be completed. If there is a crack when removed from the mold, all is lost. This system is the most primitive way of all template creation, and only about half go to waste.

Making a ”dora”

The inside of the casting is hammered to increase the molecule density and then a design is carved on the surface. Nakata tried carving the surface. When the metal-colored surface is shaved using a filing rod, a silver color appeared from underneath. Nakata was taught that the filing process is done by carving fine grid designs. ”I think I might be better off practicing striking the gong instead.” Nakata commented at the end.
Iraku Uozumi is the only ”dora” craftsman in Japan. His mission is to make sure that this is handed down to the next generation, but his son is ready to succeed him as he is going through training now. Iraku-san had trained under his grandfather, also a Living National Treasure and had chosen his life as a ”dora” craftsman. From grandfather to grandson, the sound of sophisticated ”Wabi Sabi” was handed down. The low sound of the gong is heard just before entering the tea room, putting the mind at rest, one last time.

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Dora Artist, Iraku Uozumi
Kanazawa, Ishikawa