御神鏡Divine Mirror

日本神話に登場する「三種の神器(鏡、玉、剣)」に由来し、天照大神が宿り太陽を示すとされる鏡は、古より御神体として寺社に祀られてきました。また悪い物を跳ね返すとされ、魔除けや災害を鎮め、人々が願い託すお守りとしての役割も担い神事祭事に用いられてきました。神仏具としての鏡は「御神鏡」と呼ばれ、銅、錫、亜鉛の合金を磨き上げる古来の製法で作られます。かつては各家庭に手鏡などがあり、職人が手入れをしに定期的に通っていたというほど身近だった金属製の鏡も、ガラス製のものが主流になるにつれて数を減らし、現在では慶応2年創業、山本合金製作所の一軒でその技術を受け継いでいます。京都下京区の工房で5代目和鏡師・山本晃久さんにお話を伺いました。

鏡の制作工程は砂と粘土で鋳型を作るところから始まります。「裏に模様があるものは、まず肉付けといって胴体を凹ませてからヘラで模様を入れていきます。型の凹んだところが膨らみになるので好みの加減になるように何度も試して、想像通りのものが作れるようになるまで最低でも10年はかかりますね」。鋳造が終わると、鏡面に鑢(やすり)掛けをします。目の粗いものから細かいものへと4段階、さらにセンという道具で平らに削ること3段階。仕上げに砥石、朴炭、駿河炭の3段階で研ぎ、磨きあげるとすっかり道具の跡は消え、艶やかに煌めく鏡面が完成します。「機械でもっと効率よくできるやろ、と言われることもありますが、手の技術を残すためにも普段からやっておかないと修復の仕事が来た時に対応できないので。修復はそれぞれ条件が違うので機械ではできません。鏡面が綺麗になると粗がかえって目立って必ずしもいいとはいえない場合もありますが、昔から受け継がれたものを直してお祀りし続けていただくことも大切にしたいですね。伊勢神宮の式年遷宮は、常若(とこわか)といって、お社から神具、装束まですべて古来の製法で新しく造り替えて神様をお迎えしますが、これは20年毎のちょうど世代交代の時期に行って、技術を継承するためでもあるといわれています」。

職人としてできることがあるなら、積極的に関わりたいという山本さん。「魔鏡(※)にしても、薄い鏡に光を当てると裏の模様が映し出される仕組みを知っていた当時の職人が、キリシタンの人たちが困っているのを聞いて、なんとかできないかと思って作られたものだと思います。職人は言葉が得意ではないので、自分の持っている技術で社会に貢献したいと考えていますから。誰からも必要とされなければ技術は残っていかないですが、時代に合わせて新しいものに変えていくよりも、まず古くからあるものをどう見立てどう使ってもらうかを考えたいです。例えば鏡を乗せる台の雲形は最も古い意匠ですが、現在の空間にもフィットするロングライフなデザインやと思います。鏡にしても何もしなくても新しくて綺麗なままのものをよしとするなら宗教も祈りも必要なくなりますよね。曇り、汚れるから常に手入れをし、磨いて綺麗にする。その行為が大切なんやと思います」。

 

※魔鏡…光を当てて投影すると、裏側に鋳造されている経文や仏像などが写し出される鏡。裏面の文様の凹凸を浮かび上がるまで、鏡面を薄く削る必要があるので高度な技術と時間を要する。

 

– 写真説明 –

写真説明

[Ⅰ]鏡の背にある文様は鶴亀や鳳凰、花など吉祥柄が多い。強い勢いで金属を流しこむのでほんの少しひびが入っても模様が潰れたり割れたりするため押しては乾かしながら慎重に進める。1枚に2,3ヶ月かかることも。
[Ⅱ]鋳型の砂と粘土は模様の複雑さによって配合を変える。鋳造は街中ではできないので、久世で仏具などつくる工房が10軒ほど集まって1個の炉を共同で使っている。
[Ⅲ]初代、2代が作ったヘラを今も使い続ける。200種類以上あり、模様によって使い分ける。
[Ⅳ]初代から手入れしながら使っているセンで表面を磨く。シャッシャッシャッ……というリズミカルな音とともに、鏡面が滑らかになっていく。
[Ⅴ]研ぎに使う砥石、朴炭、駿河炭。紙ヤスリで研磨するのとは経年の美しさに違いが出る。駿河炭はもう全国でも一軒しか作っていない。

Originating from the “Three Sacred Treasures (mirror, jewel and sword)” of Japanese mythology, the mirror, in which Amaterasu-Omikami (the Sun Goddess) resides and which is said to represent the sun, has been enshrined in shrines and temples as a sacred object. Mirrors have also been used in Shinto rituals and ceremonies to repel evil, calm disasters, and act as an amulet for people’s wishes. Mirrors used for these religious rituals are called “Goshinkyo (divine mirror)” and are made by the traditional method of polishing an alloy of copper, tin and zinc. In the past, every household had its own hand mirror, and a craftsperson regularly visited the house to maintain the familiar item. Yet, as the use of glass mirrors became more mainstream, the number of these metal mirrors decreased and today the technique is carried on by a single company, Yamamoto Gokin Seisakujyo (Alloy Manufacturing), founded in 1866. We spoke to Akihisa Yamamoto, the fifth-generation Japanese mirror maker, at his workshop in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto.

The process of making a mirror begins with the making of a mould from sand and clay. “If the mirror has a pattern on the back, the body is first made concave, and then the pattern is added with a modelling tool. The concave part of the mould is the bulge, so we have to try again and again to get the desired degree of fleshiness, and it takes at least ten years before we can produce what we imagine.” Once the casting is finished, the mirror surface is sanded. There are four stages of sanding, from coarse to fine, and then three stages of flattening with a tool called Sen. To finish, the mirror is polished in three stages using a whetstone, magnolia charcoal and Suruga charcoal. After polishing, the tool marks disappear completely, leaving a shining mirror surface. “Some people tell me that I can do it more efficiently with a machine, but I have to do it on a regular basis to preserve my hand skills so that I am ready when a restoration job comes along. Each restoration is different and cannot be done by machine. When the mirror surface is cleaned, the roughness may stand out, which is not always good, but we would like to keep repairing and enshrining things that have been handed down from the past. In the Shikinen Sengu ritual known as Tokowaka, which occurs at Ise Jingu shrine, everything from the shrines to the sacred tools and costumes will be renewed using ancient techniques to welcome the gods. It is said that this event is held every twenty years, just in time for the change of generations, in order to pass on the skills.”

Yamamoto says that if there is anything he can do as a craftsman, he wants to be involved. “In my theory, the magic mirror (*) was made by a craftsperson of the time who knew that if you shine a light on a thin mirror, the pattern on the back will be projected. Probably when the craftsperson heard that the Christians were in trouble, they thought they could do something about it and made such an item. Craftspeople are not good with words and they want to contribute to society with the skills they have. If no one needs it, the skill will not survive, but rather than changing it to something new to suit the times, I would like to think about how we can arrange the ancient things and use them. For example, the cloud shape of the stand on which the mirror is placed is one of the oldest designs, but I think it is a long-lasting design that can be adapted to today’s spaces. If we prefer that mirrors are to remain new and clean without any work, there would be no need for religion or prayer. It gets cloudy and dirty, so we have to take care of it, polish it and make it clean. I think those actions are the important thing.”

 

*A magic mirror is a mirror which, when hit by light, projects a sutra or Buddhist image cast on its reverse side. It requires a high level of skill and time because it is necessary to sand the mirror surface thinly to reveal the pattern on the reverse side.

 

– photo explanation –

[Ⅰ]The patterns on the back of the mirror are often auspicious, such as cranes, turtles, phoenixes and flowers. The metal is poured in with such force that even the slightest crack can destroy the pattern or cause it to be broken, so the work proceeds carefully, pressing and drying. It sometimes takes a few months to complete one piece.The Sahari Orin is not only good for its sound, but also for the fact that the combination of copper and tin makes it possible to produce a golden colour without using real gold.
[Ⅱ]The proportion of sand and clay in the mould is changed according to the complexity of the pattern. Since casting cannot be done in the city, about ten workshops in Kuze area in Kyoto making Buddhist ritual items gather and use one furnace together.
[Ⅲ]The modelling tools made by the first and second generations are still used today. There are over 200 different types of modelling tools, used in different patterns.
[Ⅳ]Polishing the surface with Sen, which has been used and maintained since the first generation. The rhythmic sound of the Sen makes the mirror surface smooth.
[Ⅴ]The whetstone, magnolia charcoal and Suruga charcoal used for polishing. There is a difference in the beauty of the surface over time, unlike the effect that would be produced by polishing with sandpaper. There is only one producer of Suruga charcoal in Japan.t is carved.

 

Photography by Tomoko Hayashi

御神鏡 2寸(φ約6㎝)御神鏡台(雲形)Goshinkyo (divine mirror),
diameter approx. 6cm, cloud shape stand

山本合金製作所 Yamamoto Gokin Seisakujyo (Alloy Manufacturing)

〒600-8837 京都府京都市下京区夷馬場町6-6 6-6 Ebisunobanba-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto 600-8837 JAPAN

+81 75-351-1930