photo Hardstone carving


Carved hardstone (gyoku) is a category of art objects sculpted from semi-precious stones such as agate and mineral crystal. Jade, agate, mineral crystal, and other semi-precious stones are known as gyoku (“jewel” or “gem”). In hardstone carving, these stones are cut and sculpted to produce a wide variety of objects including tea bowls and incense containers. Works of carved hardstone emphasize the beautiful natural colors and patterns of the stones themselves.


  • 1.The rough stone is cut with consideration to the variegation and patterning.
  • 2.The piece is shaped by first chiseling a lattice pattern into the surface and then removing the latticed stone.
  • 3.Sand is applied to a steel grinding disk and rotated to carve the stone.
  • 4.The piece is fine polished using polishing powder and a rotating wooden disk.
  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.