-   kiribako   -

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The wooden box is called Kiribako in Japanese, meaning Paulownia wood box.  This is an ancient Japanese storage tradition, born out of the humid Japanese climate. The wood is resistant to moisture so in our climate it’s an ideal material to use to protect valuable items.   All EMOSIWN jewellery are gift-boxed in a kiribako.


The red stamp is a seal called Wari-in, and is often seen on the side of Kiribako.  Each box is handmade so they vary slightly in size; we stamp the Wari-in onto the box to show which lid goes with which base. The design of the Wari-in is known as Shippo-tsunagi.  Shippo means seven treasures and tsunagi means connection and it is regarded as a traditional auspicious or lucky design.  The word for enamel in Japanese is also Shippo and so this is one of the signature designs for my enamel works.

-   BOX designs   -


In Japan we have a culture that since ancient times has cherished the moon or Tsuki (Zuki). We have many names for the moon depending on its shape or the season. Historically the Japanese imported wool from Portuguese traders and the word Rasha comes from how Japanese merchants thought the Portuguese word for wool sounded. Sheep and wool have been important to Wales so this yarn-like moon design brings together Wales and Japan.

-   folding   -

Paper making techniques arrived from China around the 7th century, however ultimately Japan developed its own technique for making paper or washi. In 2014 washi was added to the UNESCO list of intangible heritage. Paper was initially used for shakyo, a form of meditation derived from transcribing sutras or written records onto paper. Later it began to be used for religious services and slowly over time the custom of wrapping with paper was established.

During the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Ashikaga Shogun ordered the development of a formal way of folding paper, called Girei-ori [儀礼折]. And wrapping things with beautiful folded lines is an aspect of formal Japanese manners that still remains part of our life today.  Eventually leaving the strict rules of Girei-ori behind, the more enjoyable form of paper folding known as origami [折り紙] was born. However Origami only became popular amongst ordinary people, following the establishment of mass paper production techniques during the Edo period (1603-1868).

-   wrapping   -

Orikata [折形] a formal method of wrapping was developed amongst the samurai during the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1336-1573) eras and has remained a part of Japanese culture ever since. Up until the 1940s, Orikata was still taught at school and today it remains a popular and beautiful wrapping style. Paying attention to folding and wrapping a gift in washi paper is considered an expression of respect to the person who will receive the gift. Wrapping also involves hiding something and this strongly connects to the Japanese traditional esthetic of not showing or saying everything and being modest and humble.   Alongside our paper wrapping tradition, we also have Furoshiki [風呂敷], a piece of square fabric which people have used since ancient times to wrap all sorts of precious and everyday items. Today, this old fashioned method of wrapping has been revived with the use of modern textile designs.

-   knotting   -

In the ancient Japanese Imperial Court, gifts were often wrapped in silk fabric and tied with a decorative knot of made of kumihimo braid.  Amongst the samurai; where Orikata, a formal way of wrapping was developed using washi paper, a cord called Mizuhiki [水引], made from strong washi paper was used as a tie.

The Chinese character for knot [結び] in modern Japanese was derived from the ancient Yamato word Musubi [産霊 (ムスビ)] and reflects that in the process of creating a knot something is born. As in Celtic culture, knots have a spiritual meaning and are used to ward off evil in places like shrines, though they have also developed as simple decorative design features.