Japan’s extensive woodworking culture dates back to ancient times and has evolved over the centuries to the point where it is thought that its people lived with trees. Wood constructed the majority of the country’s structures, including furniture, tableware, and other items.

The traditional Japanese craft of sashimono represents the country’s wood culture. Some of its items include cabinets and other large pieces of furniture. However, the sashimono during the Edo period is notable for its array of small indoor products, which include everything from oblong coal burners to writing desks, dressers, and sewing boxes. “Though they appear to have a delicate structure at first glance, they are surprisingly firm and last for around 100 years. They’re not showy, but the woodgrains have a striking beauty, and there is ingenious skill hidden away in them,” said 68-year-old Yutaka Mogami, the third-generation head of an Edo sashimono workshop in Tokyo’s Kuramae area. Sashimono is a technique for attaching wooden elements without using iron nails. Ledges and recesses are instead carved into the wood and interlocked to join the parts together.

The Edo sashimono’s charm lies in its extraordinary durability despite its delicate appearance, with its minimalist and polished appearance held together by hidden joints.