shippaku 漆箔
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Technique of applying gold foil to the surface of a statue or vessel. Most often found on Buddhist statues, especially *nyorai 如来 made of wood *mokuchou 木彫, and dry lacquer *kanshitsu 乾漆, and occasionally used on stone statues *sekibutsu 石仏, clay *sozou 塑造, and metal figures *kinzokuzou 金属像. The practice of applying gold to a Buddhist image was derived from the idea that the body of the Buddha emitted a subtle golden light, one of Buddha's 32 attributes *sanjuunisou 三十二相. The statue was painted with a lacquer ground, which was applied directly to the surface of the figure or over a covering of hemp cloth. The ground consisted of a layer of lacquer mixed with pulverized clay *sabi-urushi 錆漆, which was left to dry before applying a layer of black lacquer, kurourushi 黒漆. As the gold foil was an expensive, precious material it was not usually applied evenly over the whole surface of the statue. Several layers were applied to the face which was considered the most important part of the figure, and less to the body. The back, hands and feet were given only a thin covering of gold. Over a period of many years drying tended to cause shrinkage, and cracks appeared between the base material and the lacquer layer, often damaging the gold surface. From the Kamakura period statues were sometimes coated with gold paint, kindei 金泥, or gold powder *fundami 粉溜, instead of using shippaku. Statues with a shippaku surface are known as shippakuzou 漆箔像.

*hakuoshi 箔押 

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