About Lacquer

Lacquerware is a craftwork unique to the East. It has been developed in lacquer producing countries such as Japan,
China and Thailand. Japanese
lacquerware has gained worldwide reputation so much so that over the years lacquerware started to be called ‘japan’ collectively.
For Kyoto-style lacquerware, only the best materials are selected.
This particular lacquerware is characterized by its refined and elegant design as well as the strength and robust nature of the artwork.
The beauty of its flat surface and sharp corners and its delicate finish are characteristics of this style.

Unlacquered Wood

Unlacquered wood in Kyoto is characterized by its distinctive finish;
this special technique creates daintily thin wood yet amply thick in others.


Regarding the various processes,  there are around 16 types of coating techniques.  
Each type has separate characteristics such as the delicate nature of glaze coating on the surface,the emphasis on texture as well as the quality of the materials for art work and the preference for a simple lacquer color.

Gold on Lacquer

Maki-e is the technique of creating gorgeous picture patterns by sprinkling gold/silver powder on top of patterns drawn in lacquer.
Maki-e styles vary and incorporate different techniques with the use of various materials and processes which have been handed down over generations.  The techniques of Maki-e were refined in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.  Spectacular art pieces were created in this area from the Heian Era for the needs of the Imperial Court, temples and shrines.

Okime (Basic Design)

‘Okime’ is the basic design for Maki-e. The profile of the design is drawn on a thin piece of Mino paper. The drawing is traced in lacquer or ‘Gohun’, pigment made from shells. Then, it is placed on the surface of the work and the picture is transferred onto it. Since those designs are usually owned by craftsmen, they are not shown to the public. However, Zohiko occasionally exhibits them because we maintain a collection of about 5,000 pieces of Okime. They are assumed to have been created at Zohiko’s Maki-e Art School when it was in operation.

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