Sashimono (指物, or also in hiragana さしもの, lit. 'object that is slotted in') indicates techniques by which separate pieces of wood are joined without the use of nails. This technique creates objects intended for use as opposed to those only used for decorative purposes.
Objects made using the sashimono technique are also addressed using the same word.
Woodworking joinery is known virtually anywhere in the world. In Japan it is a key part of everyday life, as sashimono techniques are applied to create items for daily use or interior design, furniture, and fixtures.
A sashimono craftsman's deep knowledge of raw materials (their looks, properties, strength, resistance, and much more) allows the combination of different kinds of wood to create structures that are solid, flexible, long-lasting and good-looking. In furniture, there are three differently named types of sashimono in Japan:
- Kyō sashimono (京指物), from Kyoto, characterized by very traditional and delicate looks, first designed to meet the requests of nobles and further developed under the criteria of simplicity required by the tea ceremony.
- Edo sashimono (江戸指物), from Tokyo, with more modern looks.
- Osaka karaki sashimono (大阪唐木指物), from Osaka, usually appearing heavier and more solid.
An authentic sashimono object needs to be made without the use of nails or screws.
Did you know?
The concept of creating wooden objects without the use of nails and screws is pretty common in Japan, so much so that it is named differently depending on the application. The most known applications are called kumiko for small decorative objects, daiko for buildings, and miyadaiko for temples.