How are Tajima Glasses Made?

Our Tajima Glass Toast of Mt Fuji Sake Cups and Edo Kiriko Tumblers are both distinctive and colourful items. While both are made of Edo Glass and similar in style, Tajima Glass uses different techniques to create each design.

What is Edo Glass?

Edo glassware is recognised as a local industry of Tokyo, with items created in Edogawa, Sumida and Koto wards. The name comes from the fact that the techniques and methods have been passed down from the Edo Period (1603-1867). Each Edo glassware item is made by hand using several stages, which can vary depending on the product.

The raw materials are first heated to about 1400ºC and melted to a thick syrup consistency. Shaping can involve press moulding, free-blowing and mould-blowing. Before being cut and polished the glass is placed in an annealing kiln to slowly cool and avoid cracking. The kiln temperature starts at 500ºC and is slowly lowered throughout the day, which adds to durability of the glass.

How is the Mt Fuji Sake Cup Design Created?

The Toast of Mt Fuji Sake Cups are created using two layers glass, one clear and one coloured. Sandblasting is used to create the iconic snow capped top of Mt Fuji, which can be seen when the cup is turned upside down. 

What is Edo Kiriko Glass?

The Edo Kiriko Tumblers are made using the Edo Kiriko Glass method, which is a special way of cutting glass to create designs. Layers of coloured glass are used, which are then cut and patterned using diamond cutters. For final polishing all Tajima Glass items are hand polished, rather than using chemicals.

The method was designated as a traditional craft of Tokyo in 1985 by the Ministry of Economy, and was designated as a national traditional craft in 2002. You can see more images of the Edo Kiriko manufacturing process here on the Edo Kiriko Cooperative website.

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