( CNN) It’s hard to see the humble pail being a work of art, but those make use of Shuji Nakagawa in his Kyoto studio go for thousands of dollars and have a loyal following.

Smooth, tactile and fragrant with the heady smell of hinoki — the Japanese cypress they are constructed from — “ki-oke” are used for a variety of purposes from storing rice and miso adhesive to holding water for bathing.

The level of craftsmanship, sharpened over a century of teaching and built on traditional methods that go back 700 times, creates a flawless finish and it is almost impossible to realize the joints between the slats on the buckets.

Weaving Shibusa: How Japan perfected an American classic

This crystal universe actually exists