kogatana 小刀
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also called horikogatana 彫小刀. A knife used to carve a woodblock *hangi 版木 in the process of making a woodblock print *ukiyo-e 浮世絵. The knife is held by placing the (right) thumb on the pommel of the knife handle and grasping the handle with the remaining four fingers. Carving is then done with the middle finger of the left hand providing support for the knife. The kogatana is used for the first and most important part of carving a woodblock, the process of producing the lines for an ink block sumihan 墨版. The carver first affixes the artist's design face-down on a woodblock with rice-starch or wheat paste. The paper is carefully smoothed down with the fingers, working out from the center of the design. After stabilizing the block on a low table, the carver grasps the kogatana as described above and guides the knife along one side of a drawn line in the design. Carving is done holding the knife at a slight angle, with the point directed toward the line to be cut and the pommel slanted away from the line, thereby making the cuts at less than a 90 degree angle. Following the first cut, the carver then makes a second cut from slightly further away, again holding the knife at a slant with the blade toward the line work. Grooves are thus made on either side of each line in the design. The paper design pattern is destroyed in the process. This process is called kirimawashi 切り回し or kiridashi 切出し. Once the initial grooves have been made on either side of the lines of a design, larger carving tools are used to carve out the areas between the lines (see *souainomi 相間鑿 and *sukinomi 透鑿). Kogatana blades range in width from about 9.1mm to around 3mm. These are used for different purposes according to design requirements. A very small kogatana, for example, is used to cut the fine hairs of a courtesan's wig.


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.