Matsu Takaoka incense burner
The magnificent Matsu incense burner is made of bronze from Takaoka, Toyama prefecture in Japan. « The three friends that grow in the wintertime » are represented on it, being together a symbol of good omen: the pine, the plum tree and the bamboo. The pine, which resists to the harshness of winter, symbolises immortality and perseverance ; the plum tree, which blooms before thaw, represents courage and revival ; the bamboo, as it is flexible and tough, symbolises loyalty.
In 1611, Maeda Toshinaga, lord of Kaga domain in the town of Takaoka, invited seven metal casters in order to stimulate the economy of the region. His decision was the beginning of a long tradition of cast iron in Takaoka, as the know-how has passed on from one generation to the next till now. In spite of declining in the last few decades, Takaoka region is still now the main cast iron production area in Japan.