Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!! Vintage Japanese Sweets Mold - Kashigata


This is a vintage mold called "kashigata".

Often made of sakura (cherry wood) and seasoned for about 3 years before carving, kashigata
were used to make dried confectionery made of rice flour and sugar
called rakugan. Earliest records show that this practice dates back to
the mid-17th century. These confections were used as offerings and
snacks for celebratory occasions and even unfortunate events. For
example when a person died, it was expensive to give flowers or fresh
food so, people made these sweets in the form of flowers, fish etc.
These items were then placed on the "butsudan" (family shrine found in
the house) for the dead person.

Kashigata were also used in the making of wagashi (nama-gashi or freshly made cake and hi-gashi or
dried confectionery) for tea ceremonies.

Common kashigata motifs in the Edo era - chrysanthemums, plum blossoms
Meiji Era - spread of western technology - balloons, planes
World War II - national pride heightened - cherry blossoms, battleships -
used as gifts for departing troops, ceremonies and commemorative

With the advent of refrigeration, fresh fish replaced rakugan motifs like the sea bream. Sadly today, making
offerings for fortunate and unfortunate events is no longer a common
practice. This in turn has lessened rakugan demand although they are
still found in tea ceremonies and homes. The decrease in kashigata
artisans today has made kashigata carving a dying craft making
kashigata itself a sought-after collectible.

Posted via web from fromjapanwithlove's posterous

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