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urushi-e@Ž½ŠG
CATEGORY:@art history / paintings
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1@Painting done with colored lacquer iro-urushi ÊŽ½, made by mixing pigments in a base of transparent lacquer suki-urusi “§Ž½. Until the Edo period, five colors - red, black, yellow, green, and light brown - were available through the use of natural pigments. White lacquer was not produced until the mid 19c. One extant example of urushi-e dates back to the early Joumon period: a fragment of earthenware decorated with a simple pattern in red lacquer was found in the Torihama ’¹•l shellmound kaizuka ŠL’Ë, in Fukui prefecture. The decoration on the Tamamushi miniature shrine *Tamamushi no zushi ‹Ê’Ž~Žq (mid-7c) in Houryuuji –@—²Ž›, Nara, is thought to be done by mixed techniques of urushi-e and *mitsuda-e –§‘ÉŠG. From the Nara period, painting in red lacquer against a black background was favored by aristocrats for lacquered wood utensils and furniture. Around the Momoyama period daily and ceremonial lacquerware decorated with colorful urushi-e or mitsuda-e became very popular. Complicated designs of flowers, birds, animals, and scenes from old stories were depicted and often made more decorative by using gold powders *sunago »Žq and gold leaf kinpaku ‹à”“ (see *haku ”“) . Local traditions of painted lacquerware continue in many areas today.

2@A type of early hand-colored *ukiyo-e •‚¢ŠG woodblock print. Animal collagen glue *nikawa äP was added to black ink *sumi –n to give a lustrous appearance, which was reminiscent of black lacquer. It was used primarily for hairstyles and costume details such as obi ‘Ñ. In part to balance the strong black areas, other colors were made brighter. Bronze or brass powder as well as fine mica flakes unmo ‰_•ê were sometimes sprinkled onto these prints. Urushi-e was used primarily in the Kyouhou era ‹•Û (1716-36), and in the Kanpou Š°•Û era (1741-44), but can be seen as late as 1764 on large works. The technique appears on the prints of artists such as Okumura Masanobu ‰œ‘º­M (1686-1764), Nishimura Shigenaga ¼‘ºd’· (1697?-1756) and the Torii school *Toriiha ’¹‹”h masters Torii Kiyonobu ’¹‹´M (1664-1729) and Kiyomasu ´”{ (fl.c.1696-1716).
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