Urushi laquer

. Legends about laquer .

Laquer, Lacquer and Daruma

CLICK for more photos

First some general remarks about lacquer techniques.

Laquerware is created from the sap of the lacquer tree for practical and artistic equipment we use in our daily lives. The advantage of lacquer is its strong natural adhesive property and it is very easily processed into pieces. Traditionally many coatings of lacquer are applied and after drying patterns are carved out of the lacquer.

In my story about Kamakura-bori, Lacquer from Kamakura,
I introduced the main techniques and some Daruma figures.c

Read the full story here:
Kamakurabori 鎌倉彫り  Kamakurabori -
Daruma and Kamakura Laquerware

More lacquer stories in the Daruma Museum

Wakasa Daruma 若狭 だるま Laquer and achate stone

. Echizen shikki 越前漆器 Echizen lacquer ware . - Fukui
Lacquerware manufacturing in Echizen is one of the traditional industries in Japan, and its history dates back over 1,500 years . . .

Chataku 茶托saucer for tea cup and Negoro Laquer ware,
Negoro nuri 根来塗

. . . CLICK here for Photos of Laquer Daruma !


CLICK for more tamamushi laquer

In a general sense, lacquer is a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required.

The term lacquer originates from the Portuguese word for lac, a type of resin excreted from certain insects. Regardless, in modern usage, lac-based varnishes are referred to as shellac, while lacquer refers to other polymers dissolved in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as nitrocellulose, and later acrylic compounds dissolved in lacquer thinner, a mixture of several solvents typically containing butyl acetate and xylene or toluene.
While both lacquer and shellac are traditional finishes, lacquer is more durable than shellac.

Just as "China" is a common name for Chinese ceramic, "Japan" is an old name for Japanese Lacquerware (made from the sap of the Lacquer Tree) and its European imitations.
As Asian and Indian lacquer work became popular in England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain in the 17th century the Europeans developed imitations that were effectively a different technique of lacquering. The European technique, which is used on furniture and other objects, uses varnishes that have a resin base similar to shellac.

The technique, which became known as japanning, involves applying several coats of varnish which are each heat-dried and polished. In the 18th Century this type of lacquering gained a large popular following. In the 19th and 20th Centuries this lacquering technique evolved into the handicraft of decoupage.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Start from HERE

. My PHOTO ALBUM - Laquer Daruma

A lacquer plate called "Daruma Plate"
Used to serve sweet Japanese cakes for the Tea Ceremony.
(my album 15)

Seated Daruma, wood with a lacquer coating.
Ichiban Antiques.
(my album 16/17)
A very vibrant wooden carving of the Boddhidharma - also known as Daruma - this one carved from a heavy wood and then quite heavily lacquered in a dry lacquer technique in dark red lacquer. There are traces of old gilt designs on the robes and his face has a lot of gold lacquer or gilt still in place - now reddish from age. Based on
the patina and the slight dulling of the red lacquer, we believe this piece dates from the late Meiji to Taisho period.

A Tray with four Dishes
Unusual Japanese red lacquer tray and four small dishes in the shape of Daruma. Ca. 1900. The tray represents the hooded Daruma enveloped in his robe. His face and the suggestion of his robe have been deeply carved, and his high relief eyes are piercing. The four small plates represent a slightly different pose of Daruma, also
enveloped in his robe, and they are hand carved to show facial and robe details. As you can see from the photos, each face is slightly different. The backs of all five pieces are covered in black lacquer, and the remnants of an old paper label can be found on each piece.
(my Album 17, 18, 19, 20

Mini-Geta, Sandals of Kamakura Lacquer
They are to be ordered online for 2000 Yen.
(my album 21,22)
Daruma san in this item, really, trampling on his face!


Collection of my Daruma Museum

Now let us look at the other Daruma of Lacquer in my collection of the PHOTO ALBUM.

is my first Daruma acquisition ever, read about him here. We go quite a while together.

Who is Daruma ?

On picture 03 you can see him with some friends sitting in my office, always watching, always ready for a joke, always seriously happy!

shows a small tray used in a temple to put on a flower vase (kadai).
It is made of wood with Washuuzan-Laquer from Okayama prefecture.

is a small bowl for soup. Probably red Negoro lacquer.

shows two boxes, Father and Son (oyako) as I call them. Red Lacquer with gilt painting. The bigger one might have been used to store some lunch.


a box of about 35 cm diameter, wood with a black lacquer coating.
These kinds of boxes (cha-bako) are used to keep the tea utensils in, ready for use any time.

is a very special plate of black lacquer with metal inlay of various patterns of a Japanese festival in Kyoto. The diameter is 12 cm.

. My Photo Album - Laquer Daruma   


CLICK for more photos
oouchi lacquer dolls 大内塗 Ouchi Laquer

. Ouchi Ningyo 大内人形 Laquer Dolls from Yamaguchi  

Kanazawa shikki 金沢漆器 lacquerware from Kanazawa


Takaoka shikki 高岡漆器 Takaoka Lacquerware

- quote -
Takaoka City’s prized Takaoka lacquerware
has captivated many people with its beauty. Decorated with simple, delicate designs and vividly elegant colors, it has gained popularity both inside and outside of Japan.

The history of Takaoka lacquerware goes back as far as that of Takaoka City itself. When the second Kaga clan lord, Maeda Toshinaga, built Takaoka Castle and established what is now Takaoka City around 1609, he invited craftsmen from throughout the country to his domain, and had them produce various key necessities from armories to cabinets. This is said to have been the origin of Takaoka lacquerware.

Starting out as a townspeople’s craft, by the late 18th century, Takaoka Lacquerware was beginning to be influenced by over-glazing methods from China, including tsuishu (the over-glazing of red lacquerware) and tsuikoku (the over-glazing of black lacquerware), and the region saw the start of production of trays and jubako multi-tiered food boxes. Techniques developed such as chokoku-nuri (sculpture painting), where artisans would literally paint lacquer onto sculptures, and sabi-e (rust paintings) that use sabi urushi (rust lacquer) to paint subjects three-dimensionally.

Takaoka expanded as a production center and became known nationwide. Building on these techniques, various products such as trays, tea utensils and furniture were manufactured, and in 1975, Takaoka lacquerware was designated as a traditional craft by the Japanese government.

Other lacquer techniques representative of Takaoka are yusuke-nuri and aogai-nuri.
Yusuke-nuri is a comprehensive technique that uses a Chinese designs as its base, with singular subjects or combinations of subjects such as flowers and birds, mountains and water, or human figures painted using the sabi-e technique. Decorations are then added to this foundation using coral and gold or silver sheets. Aogai-nuri, meanwhile, uses inlaid mother-of-pearl to create its designs. By using thin, hand-crafted shells, the foundation becomes transparent, illuminating a beautiful shade of blue.

Takaoka lacquerware continues to be made to this day. Classic products such as trays and hand mirrors are still being manufactured, as well as new products that cater to modern needs, such as smartphone cases and piercings. Ancient or modern, investing in the dignified beauty of Takaoka lacquerware can bring an inspiring change to your life.
Traditional Crafts Takaoka Lacquerware Co-operative:Kaihatsu-Honmachi, Takaoka-shi, Toyama
- reference source : japan-brand.jnto.go.jp/crafts -

. Toyama Folk Art - 富山県 .


. . . . . Urushi no ki 漆 うるし <> Lacquer Tree


Uzawa Shogetsu  鵜沢松月

He was a disciple of the famous
Shirayama Shosai 白山松哉 (Shirayama Shoosai)
1853 - 1923

Uzawa Shogetsu, Collections Baur
Jan Dees, 1986
Designs produced by the Japanese lacquer Master Uzawa Shogetsu seem to grow out of smooth surfaces of the perfectly finished lacquer boxes and other items he produced. Shogetsu’s (probably 1877 - ?) specialty were subtly shaded lacquer (maki-e) decorations, painted in meticulous details.
With 26 items, the majority of works of this little known master is found today in the Collections Baur. Some of the objects were especially made to order for the collector Alfred Baur (1866 - 1951), who bought as many of Shogetsu’s objects as were available. As a consequence of Baur’s passion for this artist’s work, Shogetsu is comparatively unknown in Japan today.
Various Tables, Glossary, and Notes.
source : www.trocadero.com


. Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 .
March 15, 1807 – July 13, 1891


some technical terms

hiramaki-e  平蒔絵 flat-sprinkled design
jigaki 地書き fine line drawing
kirigane 切り金 cut patterns from gold or silver foil
takamaki-e 高蒔絵 relief-sprinkled design
togidashi 研ぎ出し finishing by polishing
tsutsu 筒 sprinkling rod

The various steps:
① shita-e下絵 ② okime 置き目 ③ jigaki地書き ④ shitamaki 下蒔き ⑤ shitamaki toki 下蒔き研ぎ ⑥ takaage 高上げ ⑦ takatogi 高研ぎ ⑧ kinmaki 金蒔き ⑨ kinpun katame 金粉固め ⑩ kinpun togi 金粉研ぎ ⑪ suri-urushi 摺り漆 ⑫ migaki 磨き

. Maki-e, makie 蒔絵 lacquer pictures .
and haiku about them


. Edo shokunin 江戸の職人 Edo craftsmen .

nurishi, nuri-shi 塗師 laquer master

The kijishi 生地師(きぢし)prepared the vessels
the nurishi 塗師 applied the laquer base
the makie-shi 蒔絵師(まきえし)applied the images.

Lacquer items from the Nezu Museum
- source : Nezu Museum Tokyo -

. Edo shikki 江戸漆器 Edo lacquerware .
- Introduction -


山家漆器店 Lacquer from Yamaga, Wakayama
source : Yamaga on FB


goorokuwan 合鹿椀(ごうろくわん)Goroku lacquer bowl from Yanagida village
Ishikawa, Noto peninsula

The second Chinese character is for deer (shika 鹿).
It was originally the character for ROKU 麓, fumoto, the foot of a mountain
where the craftsmen lived.

gooroku no wan 合鹿 の椀

Gorokuwan - Goroku Wan
The wooden core was carved using only the blade of a lathe, and the piece utilizes the effects of this carving as a part of its ornamentation. The shape of the bowl is very elegant and solid. The edge has thick hemp cloth pasted on to improve its durability, and the artist has taken advantage of the texture of this cloth when adding the bowl's ornamentation.
The more you use such a piece, the more you will appreciate the beauty and charm of this lacquered bowl.
source : shofu.pref.ishikawa.jp

There are bowls for rice and for soup.
Look here for more photos:
source : 合鹿椀情報館

shimogare ya hikkurikaeru roku no wan

withering in the frost -
my Goroku bowl
has fallen upside down


. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 - Introduction .


. shikki 漆器 laquerware, laquer ware .
Table of contents

. koogei, kôgei 工藝 / 工芸 Kogei, industrial art .

- #urushi #laquer #laquerware -


Gabi Greve said...

View of the Pinnacle :
Japanese Lacquer Writing Boxes: the Lewis Collection of Suzuribako

This is a richly illustrated catalogue featuring more than eighty suzuribako, dating from the fourteenth through the twentieth centuries,
from the Edmund and Julia Lewis Collection.

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Shunkei Urushi

Hida Shunkei
They say that the major craft traditions of the Hida region are incorporated in the single craft of Hida Shunkei lacquer ware. The specialist crafts of making the cores and applying the lacquer are the work of separate craftsmen working as one. I talked to two core makers with different specialties and a lacquer craftsman.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Shosha laquer ware - 書写山圓教寺に残された漆器文化「幻の書写塗」
Shosha nuri - Urushi

Hyogo Prefecture

Gabi Greve - Mingei said...

Aizu urushi, Aizu nuri  会津漆 Aizu lacquerware

Gabi Greve - Mingei said...

Important craftsmen from Yamanaka

great list to explore

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Edo shikki 江戸漆器 Edo laquerware
中島の漆 Nakajima san

Gabi Greve said...

Wajima laquer ware

輪島塗 : wajima-nuri / wajima's lacquered ware

on a stamp collection of traditional craft

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kaba Motoki 加波基樹

He works with Wajima laquer and keeps a store in the 4th generation.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

o-wan soup cups
with two princess Daruma


Gabi Greve said...

November 13


Since 1985


Gabi Greve said...

"Urushi no hi," or "Lacquer Day"

November 13
The Deep Beauty of Lacquer Ware (Photos)
Creations by Living National Treasure Ōnishi Isao
Painstaking, Solitary Work

In 2002 Ōnishi Isao was designated a living national treasure for his work in lacquer ware. This title is awarded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to individuals who maintain one of Japan’s officially defined “important intangible cultural heritages”—masters of craftsmanship or the performing arts who possess vital techniques and skills in some of the country’s most historically and artistically precious cultural pursuits. Ōnishi won the title for his work in kyūshitsu, a type of lacquer work involving, quite simply, the repeated application of lacquer to the object being crafted.

Gabi Greve said...

Hitting the Spot—Takashi Wakamiya
Situated on the western shore of the Noto Peninsula, Wajima is Noto’s largest community and home to Wajima lacquerware. The history of the making of this craft dates back to at least the 14th century and may have started even earlier. Wajima lacquerware is particularly well known in Japan because of its durability and fine decorations.

Anonymous said...

A blog about Noto hanto peninsula
and the laquer master
Kunikatsu Seto Kunikatsu


Gabi Greve said...

Yuzawa in Akita Prefecture is famous for a type of lacquerware, recognized by the Japanese government as a Traditional Craft Product. This local craft is called
Kawatsura lacquer
and is most commonly applied to daily items like dishes, trays and furniture. Despite being destined for use rather than display, the Kawatsura lacquer pieces have a beautiful high gloss and often exquisite gold and silver embellishments.
川連漆器 Kawatsura shikki.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

rantai shikki 籃胎漆器 Rantai laquer ware
This fine lacquer ware, which uses only long-jointed bamboo from Kurume, Kyushu, is characterized by its elegant gloss and refinement.
The bamboo ware is available in many varieties, ranging from chopsticks, coasters, baskets to chairs.

Gabi Greve said...

Kawatsura Lacquer Ware Akita

The beginnings of this craft go back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the younger brother of the lord of the fief who ruled this area, ordered the retainers to take up lacquering pieces of armor and weaponry as a job, using locally tapped lacquer and Japanese beech cut from the mountains in the area.
The making of bowls began in earnest in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) and by the end of the period work was concentrated on the three districts of Kawatsura in what is now Inakawa-cho, Odate and Minashi and the making of everyday pieces of household goods flourished in what had become a production center.

The carcasses of all the pieces are made of wood on to which natural lacquer is applied. There is no one particular feature that characterizes this ware but, because emphasis is placed on the undercoating to produce a very hard finish, it is extremely robust and is also reasonably priced. A wide variety of products are produced ranging from bowls, plates, trays and stacking boxes up to items of furniture.