Mokume Gane (Wood Grain Gold), like its literal meaning, is a metallurgical process that shows wood-like patterns on metal surfaces. Using metals’ different colors such as platinum, yellow gold, rose gold, copper, silver, brass, iron, steel, titanium, etc., metals are stacked together, welded at high temperature and pressure. After forging, hammering, sawing and other processes, the natural colors in metal are superimposed to produce a rich natural texture. A steel chisel or a drill then is used to engrave or cut the surface of the metal to make the wood grain pattern.
Since its birth, Mokume Gane reveals magnificent colors in low key. By using different colors of metal to create the visual effect of wood texture, it adds a symphonic beauty to a metal vessel.
The history of Mokume Gane originates from the hand guards carved by samurai craftsmen in the early days of the Edo era in Japan (around 1600 AD). The Japanese craftsmen at that time made reference to the renowned technique in Chinese lacquer carving, which is mainly composed of alternating layers of black paint and red paint, and intricate layers of vortex patterns are carved on the surface.
As the production process of Mokume Gane is extremely complicated, it is not only physical strength that is needed, but also strong spirit and concentration. The experience of metal processing that artisans have accumulated over many years is very important in making Mokume Gane, and artisans who do not have enough experience in metallurgical process do not dare to try. Therefore, Mokume Gane has not been popularized, and only a few craftsmen can master it.
In the history of more than 400 years, Mokume Gane has formed a unique form of artistic expression. It can be said that this unique form of art originates from the thinking and understanding of nature by craftsmen, and it is also very much in line with the aesthetics of the Asian people. Things that are derived from nature, in the end often need to be attributed to nature.