|KEY WORD :@art history / crafts|
| Lit. lacquer coating. Lacquer ware is also called shikki ½ν (lacquer ware) or nurimono h¨ (coated
things). Japanese lacquer is a highly toxic nonresinous sap from the Rhus verniciflua
tree (the same genus of poison ivy and poison oak) which hardens rather than dries.
The poisonous aspect of the medium generally limits its use to special artisans.
Lacquer construction has three stages : kiji fn, or forming the base, body,
or core of wood or sometimes basketry, leather and paper ; application of lacquer
coatings to seal and protect the object; and decoration of the surface. Application
of urushi differs regionally, but there are three basic types of lacquer coats:
undercoats shitaji Ίn, middle coats naka-nuri h, and final coats
uwa-nuri γh. Some styles omit the nakanuri, while the final coat
always uses the most highly refined lacquer because this is the surface which
is decorated. In gold decoration *makie
ͺG, the final coat is a high-gloss, transparent lacquer rouiro XF. In Japan
red-and-black-lacquered earthenware pots date from ca. 4500 BC. After 1599 systems
for cultivating lacquer trees and improving lacquering techniques were developed.
In the 18c, colored lacquers and makie became widespread.
There are several basic lacquer techniques, but decorative techniques are numerous. Ikkanbari κΥ£, also called harinuki £Ρ, is a paper-based lacquer used for teawares. Layers of lacquer-glued paper are applied to the interior of a mold and coated with lacquer when removed from the mold. Hirai Ikkan ςκΥ (1578-1657), a naturalized Chinese reportedly invented the technique in the Kan'ei °i era (1624-44) when he became lacquer master to Sen Soutan η@U (1578-1658). Iro-urushi F½ is a multi-colored lacquer in which *ganryou ηΏ (pigments) are mixed into suki-urushi §½ (clear lacquer). Traditionally only five natural pigments (red, black, yellow, green and brown) were used, but since the Meiji period white and neutral tints were made chemically. Shunkei-nuri tch is a technique of applying transparent urushi over wood grain so the natural wood pattern shows through. Popular in the 17c, it was reportedly invented by a 14c lacquermaster named Shunkei tc. A variety of lacquer types evolved in regional production centers. Negoro-nuri ͺh was made at Negoroji ͺ in Wakayama prefecture. The red surface wears to reveal the underlying black; this effect was later deliberately imitated. Tsugaru-nuri Γyh is made in Tsugaru Γy, Aomori prefecture. Muliple layers of colored lacquer (usually green, red, yellow and brown) produce a spotted-marbled effect. The technique reportedly was used first in 1685 by Ikeda Gentarou rcΉΎY, the son of lacquer master Ikeda Genbee rcΉΊq. Aizu-nuri οΓh has been made in the Aizu οΓ area of Fukushima prefecture from the late 16c, with peak output in 1878. There are two methods of priming. In the shibushitaji aΊn process, lamp black is mixed with persimmon tannin and applied as a primer then burnished when dry ; or persimmon tannin is applied alone, and burnished, before lacquer is applied. In the sabishitaji KΊn technique a clay-like primer is applied and burnished when hard. A lacquer undercoat follows the sabi K and, after burnishing, intermediate and final coats are applied. The Aizu region also developed chinkin Ύΰ, incising a design into the lacquer surface, then applying a thin layer of lacquer and applying gold dust or gold foil to the tacky lacquer. Jouhana-nuri ι[h, also called jouhana makie ι[ͺG (jigoemon-nuri ‘άEqεh), was developed in Jouhana ι[ in Toyama prefecture by Hata Jigoemon ¨‘άEqε and Hata Tokuzaemon ¨ΏΆqε in the early 17c. It uses techniques of *mitsuda-e §ΙG and keifun makie y²ͺG and has a white color. In akasa-nuri α·h, made since ca. 1660 at Wakasa α· in Fukui prefecture, layers of different colored lacquers are applied to a ground roughened by the addition of pieces of egg shell or rice chaff. Thin gold or silver foil is pressed into the indentations and a coating of transparent lacquer is applied then polished to make a smooth surface. Kuroe-nuri ]h, also called kainan shikki Cμ½ν, is made in Kuroe ], Kainan Cμ city, Wakayama prefecture. In 1826, professional lacquer craftsmen were invited to Osaka; in the Ansei ΐ era (1854-60) makie was introduced; in 1879 the chinkinbori Ύΰ€ (lacquer ware inlaid with gold) technique was introduced by Kyoto craftsmen.
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