Japanese mask makers are the best in the world in my opinion. Of the few carvers that remain today, they still employ techniques passed down to them from the 5th and 6th centuries. They carvers have a deep appreciation for the wood they use, the patience it takes to properly age the wood, and highlighting the natural beauty of the wood. One such technique is called, Ichii-itto-bori carving is a woodcraft technique that involves carving yew wood using only chisels, and was developed by a netsuke master, Matsuda Sukenaga. Matsuda was from the Hida region of Japan. Ichii-itto carving is characterized by a fine grain, due to the growth rings of the yew tree which are very fine. The wood is only treated with oils allowing for the rich fine grains of the wood to flourish.
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