Traditional architecture in Asia is beyond anything most people have the skill to do today. But a small group of people keep the tradition alive. The techniques are refined. It takes skill, but it lasts, and lasts. It lasts for generations. For over 1,000 years, you’ll have a place to live, a temple, or a fine piece of furniture.
Instead of nails, bolts, screws, or other pieces of metals that can rust, ancient techniques of joinery interlock the pieces together. It’s extremely stable. It’s also the reason why they last so long and are resistant to earthquakes and typhoons. This sort of craftsmanship and architecture are what you can call a cultural treasure. Just looking at it takes you back to ancient times, before machines took over what man used to do himself.
The master craftsman featured in this video, Hisao Hanafusa, mentions why you don’t meet traditional craftsmen like him often. He holds the industrial revolution responsible:
It created fantastic stuff, but it killed all the craftsmen. All the personal, individual talent was killed.
He provides a personal example of what such talent can birth at his shop in New York City.
Though this story focuses on Japanese woodworking, it’s impossible to ignore the connection to Chinese craftsmanship. The tools and techniques of this style came to Japan from ancient China long ago.