金箔 (“Kinpaku” / Gold leaf)
Kanazawa is famous for “Kinpaku” (Gold leaf). 99% of “Kinpaku” are produced in Kanazawa. Why it is called “Gold leaf” in English? Because it is thin like leaf. But it is much thiner. The thickness of gold leaf is almost 1/10000 mm.
Because its beauty and brightness of gold leaf, it is used for luxury ornaments and decorations. Kanazawa is suitable for producing Gold leaf because of its water, weather and industry for traditional treasure.
The raw material of Gold leaf is pure gold 24 carat.
1 coin size of gold enlarged to 2 square meters size. Craftsman punch crude golds by using hammer.
You can see how it is stretched. Punching is repeated until the gold leaf will be a certain thickness. However, what the importance is not only the gold but also the paper in the back. You can see a paper always behind the Gold leafs.
Punching process repeats continuously until it will be the same size of the paper behind.
Yes, the paper is one of the key technology to produce Gold leaf. No Gold leaf can be produced without this paper.
Papers are made by traditional manufacturing method in Japan.
It means that the papers also made by hands of craftsman. If paper is not high quality, Gold leaf cannot be made. Paper is the most important technology for Gold leaf.
Gold leaf sandwiched between papers. The papers are made of “Ganpi”, straw ashes and whites of eggs.
It is used only for gold leaf but it take a long time to make a paper. If paper cannot be produced, Gold leaf also have to be discontinued to produce. It is also crucial problem.
Gold leaf located in the center of the paper.
This is also the tool to cut Gold leaf to a designated size.
Finally, beautiful gold leaf completed.
Since the gold leaf is very thin, it cannot be touched by finger. craftsman use a tweezer made of wood.
Please see the slide show below. Craftsman works very fast but every process is very sensitive.
You can visit craftsman house in Kanazawa city.
Also you can see crude raw materials and traditional tools.
Enjoy shopping because you can buy it comparably less expensive price.
Photos are taken at Sakuda