Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Kote-e of Kitsuki

Kote-e is a kind of Japanese art we would call plaster relief. a kote is a kind of narrow trowel used by plasterers, and e means picture or painting, so the literal translation would be "trowel picture".

The art developed in Edo and spread throughout the country, though in some places it is more common. Oita is one such place, and the merchant district of the castle town of Kitsuki has numerous examples.

The designs of the kote-e primarily used symbols to either ward off misfortune or attract good fortune. The kanji for water, used to ward off the danger of fire, is very common nationwide.

Being merchant properties, many of the kote-e in Kitsuki invoke good fortune and the accumulation of wealth. Daikoku and Ebisu, two of the 7 Lucky Gods, are therefore common.