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What are Urushi and lacquerware?

 

Urushi is a kind of lacquer collected from the lacquer tree. In Japan, Urushi has been used for tableware, furniture, painting, jewelry and other objects from more than 9000 years ago. 

 

In this modern era, we have different kinds of lacquer, such as polyurethane coating and acrylic lacquer. Still, Urushi is used for finishing because of its characteristics. It is resistant to moisture, heat, acid, and even insect repellent. It preserves objects from decay and sometimes works as adhesive. Due to its high durability, many kinds of Urushi lacquerware has been discovered at the excavation site of Japan. 

 

Urushi lacquerware usually uses wood plates or bowls for the base. Even though other lacquer gets gradually coming off as time passes, Urushi remains for a long time and mostly repairable.  

 

 

 

 

Urushi lacquerware from different areas

 

Urushi lacquerware has been widely developed in various areas of Japan. Aizu lacquerware from Fukushima Prefecture, Echizen from Fukui Prefecture, Yamanaka from Ishikawa Prefecture, and Kishu from Wakayama Prefecture are known as the four major productions. 

 

Each production has different techniques for forming, painting, and decoration, and each culture has been preserved for over centuries in the same place. 

 

For instance, Yamanaka lacquerware from Ishikawa Prefecture uses woodturning for forming lacquerware. It is a unique technique to design light, symmetric objects. The fine shape and the rich Urushi finish are the reasons why Yamanaka lacquerware is highly evaluated.

 

 

Techniques for lacquerware 

 

There are different kinds of techniques for creating lacquerware. 

 

Fuki-urushi is the basic one to make lacquerware long-lasting and show beautiful wood grain at the same time. For Fuki-urushi, Urushi is directly applied to an item or a cloth is soaked in Urushi. Then a craftsman wipes the item off with a cloth. By repeating this process over and over, Urushi gets absorbed by the item, usually made of wood. The color of the wood gradually becomes darker and darker and gains beautiful luster. 

 

欅フリーボウル ふき漆 2個セット

 

 

How to use Urushi lacquerware

 

Urushi lacquerware has an elegant look. People use it for daily dining and also often for a celebration like wedding and birthday events in Japan.

 

While the lacquerware is usually made durable, it is important not to damage the coating by cutlery or other plates. Use in a delicate way. Besides, do not use a microwave or oven to heat lacquerware.

 

 

 

 

Urushi bowls go well with many kinds of soup. Since the bowls hardly conduct heat, you can hold them easily. (In Japanese custom, people usually hold a soup bowl to eat.) They can also be used for eating granola, salad, or other side dishes.

 

 

欅 ロングライフ 汁椀 朱

 

 

How to care Urushi lacquerware

 

Use a soft sponge and dish soap to clean lacquerware.

Do not use a cleanser, scrubbing brush or a dishwasher. They may cause peeling of Urushi.

After washing the item, wipe with a soft dry cloth. 

 

 

 

 

 

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投稿者: Ueda 日時: 2019年09月27日 11:00 | permalink

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