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The Traditional Japanese Way

To make a vessel form

The starting point is to draw out a profile, that is the outline of the planned piece of work. Sheet metal templates are then cut from this (fig 1). They define both inside and outside shapes, allowing for the final thickness of the metal between them. The inner template is then fixed to the frame of a simple lathing device and the core mold for the vessel is built up, forming the inside shape of the vessel, first using twine wound round the axle of the lathe (fig 2), then clay. The outer template is then employed to define the form of a wax layer built up on the clay core (fig 3).
fig 1
Elements such as feet or surface decoration can then be added in wax, together with the pouring gate, and the outer part of the mold built up in clay. So the development of the design is executed in three dimensions from the original line of the template, and the mold is generated at the same time. A lost wax casting process then leads to the production of the bronze vessel (fig 4).
fig 2
fig 3
Thanks to Professor Keinosuke Totsu of Tokyo Fine Arts University for the photographs and much enlightenment
fig 4