New traditions: Japan’s 700-year-old ‘oke’ craft gets a modern makeover

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( CNN) It’s hard to picture the humble barrel being a work of art, but those made by Shuji Nakagawa in his Kyoto studio go for thousands of dollars and have a loyal following.

Smooth, tactile and fragrant with the exhilarating smell of hinoki — the Japanese cypress “they il be” framed from — “ki-oke” are for a variety of purposes from placing rice and miso glue to holding water for bathing.

The level of workmanship, honed over a century of belief and is built around traditional methods that go back 700 years, develops a flawless finish and it is almost impossible to accompany the braces between the slats on the buckets.

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