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Documentary : Traditional Culture


The Mark of Beauty |

SERIES The Mark of Beauty | Tops


美の壷 | 独楽 [NHK]

|Length : 25min. |Year : 2009

Tops: standing straight up, they spin in an orderly manner. Although tops are one of the many old familiar toys children used to play with 50 years ago, they have also been regarded as lucky charms and used in dramatic performances since ancient times. And with their bright colors, some can also be considered works of art that go beyond the realm of toys. They are the result of the finest skills of craftsmen who infuse these precious toys with local flavor and beauty. This episode delves into the fascinating world of tops.

SERIES The Mark of Beauty | Clockwork Dolls


美の壷 | からくり人形 [NHK]

|Length : 25min. |Year : 2009

Robots existed since the Edo period (1603-1867), or so to speak. They are clockwork dolls. Displaying sophisticated movements and realistic facial features, they are unique dolls which artisans of the Edo period created using the latest technologies of the time. Some carry tea, while others can skillfully use an ink brush. Based on an elaborate mechanism, these dolls are as real as real can be. This episode introduces clockwork dolls that fully reveal the genius ideas of master artisans.

SERIES The Mark of Beauty | Folding Fans


美の壷 | 扇子 [NHK]

|Length : 25min. |Year : 2009

Folding fans have long been used as a tool to keep cool but also as a fine piece of ornament. First introduced around 1,200 years ago in the ancient capital of Kyoto, the original folding fans were said to have been created by binding thin strips of Japanese cypress. The surface, its most important aspect, was embellished with beautiful and elegant paintings produced by artists of the time. These were used by aristocrats in ritual ceremonies and were highly valued ornaments. Japanese folding fans were also extremely popular among European aristocrats in the 18th century.

SERIES The Mark of Beauty | Wagashi (Japanese-style sweets)


美の壷 | 和菓子 [NHK]

|Length : 25min. |Year : 2008

"Wagashi", or Japanese-style sweets appeared frequently in old Japanese literature.
Various types of wagashi were created, symbolizing each season, and each sweet told a variety of stories. Wagashi gained popularity in the 17th century, during the Edo Period. Each wagashi was given a name and elaborately crafted with a design worthy of its name. This trend expanded the world of wagashi.
This program introduces viewers about the true way of enjoying a wagashi, that is, to enjoy not only its taste, but also the intention of the maker and the hospitality of the person serving it.

SERIES The Mark of Beauty | Chopsticks


美の壷 | 箸 [NHK]

|Length : 25min. |Year : 2008

In Japan, chopsticks are said to have been first used for eating hot dishes.
The beginning of today's widely distributed lacquered chopsticks dates back to around 1660, when the Obama clan was presented with these as gifts. The clan lord liked the chopsticks made by painting lacquer on plain wood and called it "wakasa-nuri". Chopsticks are used to carry food to the mouth, but they also perform various functions including cutting, dividing, picking and scooping. As a tool, chopsticks have a few secrets in their design that don't compromise their beauty. Even the tree used as material carry special meanings and hopes. This program introduces the meanings and functional beauty of chopsticks, an item essential in daily life for all Japanese.

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