Origin of Zohiko
In 1661 (the 1st year of Kanbun), Zoge-ya, the predecessor of Zohiko, started its operation to sell¬ lacquer goods for daily use. Nishimura Hikobei III was the master craftsman who was granted the title, “Makie-tsukasa” (master of maki-e—an Urushi lacquer technique that involves sprinkling gold and/or silver powder on lacquer), by the Emperor. In his later years, he created the maki-e panel “Fugen Bodhisattva on a white elephant”. Its beauty attracted lots of people in Kyoto, and they called it the “Zohiko panel” (“Zo” from “Zoge-ya” and “Hiko” from “Hikobei”). Since then, the nickname “Zohiko” has been familiar to everyone.