19 August 2009 New Gold and Old Bamboo
One of the shakuhachis I am most fortunate to own is called Jo-un (恕雲), made by Tomomasa Gakudo (岳童友正) early in the 20th century. The bamboo itself, however, is clearly much older. The thing plays like a monster. No other shakuhachi I have ever played has the same tone. One friend and a fan of my teacher Taniguchi-sensei was the official maki-e (gold leaf art) artisan of the imperial family, and he decorated a few flutes for my teacher. Jo-un is one.
I took these macros with paired 27.5 mm extension tubes and a 1.4 teleconverter attached to my ZF 100/2. To give you an idea of the size, the width of each of these is less than my thumbnail. To have brushed on many successive layers of gold leaf in such a scale and with such precision boggles the mind.
I should really write an explanation of what the characters written in gold leaf mean, their history, etc., but I’m tired, I’ve had my nightly nip of scotch already, and tomorrow’s a long day.