In 1686 the founding patriarch of the Tezen family settled on this site after relocating from a nearby district of Izumo. In 1702 he founded a sake brewery that until the time of the Meiji Restoration in 1868 continued brewing sake for general consumption as well as sacramental use for offerings at Izumo Taisha. As well as sake, the family was involved in the sale of products such as cotton and lumber and was also engaged as purveyors to the local samurai authority. For many years members of this family served as local powerbrokers for the “Six Villages of Kizuki” located in what is now the Kizuki area of Izumo, near Izumo Taisha, as well as stewards of the official inns reserved for high-ranking visitors. Although not themselves of samurai rank, they were granted the privilege of wearing swords and bearing a surname to symbolize the family’s status.
The Tezen Museum was founded in 1993 to conserve the legacy of the artworks, crafts, and historical documents kept for generations by the Tezen family and exhibit them to the public. The wide-ranging variety of items donated by the family to the museum include artworks and crafts such as calligraphic scrolls, ceramics, lacquerware, tea utensils, and swords, as well as everyday implements used for meals, clothing, and shelter, and old books and historical documents. The collection comprises various implements that were necessary for the family’s social position and these valuable materials inform us in a very concrete fashion about life and culture in the Izumo region during the Edo period. The storehouses used for keeping rice and for brewing sake built in the Edo period have been turned into gallery spaces.
Edo Period (17th to mid-19th century), Storehouse (kura)