Ritsuzan Tomita is a renowned and an award-winning "Chinkin" craftsman. Chinkin is a traditional technique where thin grooves made on lacquerware surfaces are filled with gold leaves and powder.
He succeeded his father's name of Ritsuzan in 2017 and the Chinkin Tomita Ritsuzan Workshop located in Fukui Prefecture. He did his apprenticeship of Chinkin in Wajima, and then studied under his father the first generation Ritsuzan Tomita who was an award-winning master craftsman of Chinkin.
"Chinkin" is a traditional technique used to create detailed designs with gold and silver on lacquerware surfaces. Unlike Maki-e, where gold leaves and powder are directly applied to a surface, for Chinkin, shallow and very thin grooves are made onto the surface which are then filled with gold leaves and powder. This method gives the gold designs an almost "sunken" appearance on the beautiful lacquerware surface as the literal definition of Chinkin is "sunken gold" in Japanese.
Take a look at our interview with Ritsuzan where we asked about the details of this delicate technique, and his thoughts on the future of Chinkin.