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Takaoka Lacquerware


Takaoka is now a town in Toyama prefecture, and was a part of Kaga domain which is known as one of the most prosperous domain in Edo period (1603-1867).

Takaoka Lacquerware began its history when Maeda Toshinaga, the first ruler of Kaga domain and the son of Maeda Toshiie, built Takaoka castle.

Maeda Toshinaga also encouraged crafts making, such as armors, cabinets, and kitchen wares to take advantage of the plenty of Japanese lacquers and timbers produced in that area.

Artisans gathered there were especially keen to adopt various techniques flown in from China such as Tuishu (piling up red lacquer and carve patterns) and Tsuikoku (piling up black lacquer and carve patterns).

They also developed their own ones, such as Chokoku Nuri (piling up various colored lacquers to make the art three-dimensional), Sabie (adding polishing powder to lacquer, use the paste as the base, as outlines, and to build up the surface), Raden (carving the surface and setting shiny shells on the carved places), and Zonsei (drawing pictures by colored lacquer or covering carved patterns by colored lacquer, and then add gold powder).

Currently, traditional method of Yusuke nuri (putting gems on the surface and draw Sabie) and Aogai nuri (depict flowers and birds using various shells cut in geometric form) are also known as representation of Takaoka Lacquerware.

The production is categorized in three groups. One is Sashimono, wooden plates are assembled to create the goods, and Magemono, thin plate is vent to make desired form, lastly Hikimono, a mass of wood is curved by a turning. By the versatile traditional ways, such stuff are decorated to please people who use them.

Takaoka Lacquerware was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1975.

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