In an old 17th century Japanese cookery book, you can find the following instructions: "If you mix sugar with glutinous rice flour, rub it with a spatula into wooden moulds in the shapes of chrysanthemums, fans and flowering plants etc. and take them out of the moulds, you make rakugan." Rakugan is the Japanese word for sweets or confectionary, which means "alighting geese." When you can find traditional Rakugan, which may not be very often, it is now made from kneaded white bean jam, egg-yolks, wheat, soybeans, sesame and sugar. I use Italian DAS modeling material and acrylic paint for my sweet castings. Molds were/are beautifully carved by hand with the finest and sharpest Japanese chisels by skilled artisans usually working with three year seasoned cherry wood. Each of the fifteen pieces/sets in this show has three elements: (1) he original two-piece wooden mold, (2) a casting from the mold, and (3) an arrangement of (1) and (2) documented with a digital image.
There is a handsome limited (100) edition book of the same title available for special order purchases, and of course, the fifteen unique pieces/sets are for sale. Click on the image for more information.
Bob Matheny - December, 2007