Scarcely less important in Japanese eyes than the chiselling of the decorative design itself is the preparation of the field to which it is applied.
The quality of the Point of chiselling is the first feature to which the Japanese View.
It has been quarried since 1785; marble monuments were first manufactured about 1808; and at South Dorset in 1818 marble seems first to have been sawed in blocks, the earlier method having been chiselling.
Great importance has always been attached by Japanese experts to the patina of metal used for artistic chiselling.
With regard to incised chiselling, the commonest form is kebori (hair-carving), which may be called engraving, the lines being of uniform thickness and depth.
In this kind of chiselling the Japanese artist can claim to be unique as well as unrivalled.
The fashion is always accompanied by chiselling a jour (sukashi-bori), so that the sculptured portions stand out in their entirety.
At a school of art officially established in Tokyo in 1873 under the direction of Italian teachersa school which owed its signal failure partly to the incompetence and intemperate behaviour of some of its foreign professors, and partly to a strong renaissance of pure Japanese classicismone of the few accomplishments successfully taught was that of modelling in plaster and chiselling in marble after Occidental methods.
The masonry may be attributed to the 5th century; the chiselling of the immense blocks is not " Cyclopean."
Costumes of the utmost magnificence were worn, and the chiselling of masks for the use of the performers occupied scores of artists and ranked as a high glyptic accomplishment.
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