Vivid red, shiny black, and fixed patterns drawn by gold is distinguishing characters of Hidehira Lacquerware. Especially, the patterns are very traditional and there are only two types, “Genji Gumo (cloud)” and “Yusoku Hishimon (combination of rhombuses)”. The impression of this art is, therefore, beautiful but so cute.
Hidehira Lacquerware is produced in Iwate prefecture and is named after the first creator of this art, Fujiwara Hidehira, the third ruler of Oshu Fujiwara clan who ruled Hiraizumi area and flourished in the late Heian era (794-1185).
Hiraizumi, where was designated as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011, has been known as plenty of Japanese lacquer and gold are produced. Hidehira called a skilled craftsmen from Kyoto and made them create a gorgeous tableware. Modern Hidehira Lacquerware is imitating this first creation.
However, the industry started much later, in 1935, when Yanagi Soetsu researched about Hidehira’s tableware. Soetsu, who is called as the father of Mingei (folk-arts) movement, restored it and then Hidehira Lacquerware became popular.
The facial characteristics are the distinguishing patterns and colors, however, the inside is not seen. As the basement, Honkataji, the hardest basement covered by polishing powder paste, is used. Painting is done for three times and each time lacquer dried well and carefully polished.
Those three steps, basement making, painting, and decoration require artisans with special skills. They do their responsible parts and cooperate for the production.
Hidehira Lacquer Ware was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1985.