Nishiyama Yoshikatsu (b. 1946)
“In Japan, we have a unique spiritual background, that of 道 (dou), way or pathway: Each discipline of the arts is metaphorical to the path. There is a connection here with the ‘satori’ of Zen, but in order to advance one step to the next level, one has not only to absorb all into oneself, but also to let go of everything. Then the next step is unity and harmony with Nature.
In a word, Japanese beauty is the asymmetrical beauty projected by the natural world. This is not the replication of nature, not something forcibly constructed, but a beauty born in the conceptualization of this harmony. Brought up in the spirituality of the path, the Japanese have idealized it and given if form in ‘wa’ (和) My works are not only form, but in this way are also spiritual.”
Nishiyama Yoshikatsu has over 35 years experience creating European style jewellery at the top levels of the Japanese market. His path is both wide and deep. He has studied in America and Italy, Hong Kong and Bangkok and personally travels to Thailand and India to select the stones for his work. There is no tradition of personal jewellery in the arts of Japan. For women, adornment focused on the kimono, the obi and obi clasp and elaborate hair ornaments. For men, the inro and netsuke were fashionable accessories and the often elaborate fittings on swords provided decorative accents.
Nishiyama has defined his life’s goal as the expression of traditional Japanese beauty, ‘wa’ (和) in jewellery, a heritage which is European. He pays tribute to the French tradition, is bewitched by its beauty, and states humbly that only after 35 years of professional practice does he dare to combine this with ‘wa’ (和).
Using traditional motifs such as chrysanthemum flowers and white and red plums from famous early screen paintings by Ogata Korin, Nishiyama’s artistry is breathtaking. Finely wrought pierced settings set diamonds afire and detailed makie lacquer decoration complements precious stones.
Nishiyama’s works come alive on the finger. They are mysteriously attuned to the physiology of the hand and to the personality of the wearer. In an ideal world, Nishiyama wishes to design and create bespoke jewellery…and thus he wishes “to introduce to the world the magnificence of Japanese culture.”