The production of Japanese Wajima Lacquerware, placed in Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, is said to date back to 4700 B.C. The oldest one excavated from an archaeological site of Jomon period is a comb for a shaman which was covered with rouge-color Japanese lacquer and has 4 layers. This suggest how the Japanese lacquerware can be strong. It is even miraculous.
Since then, people cut out small pieces from trees, such as Japanese zelkova, cypress, Japanese Judas tree, and magnolia, carve them until their forms become like bowls, plates, and Japanese style picnic box, wax them with high-quality Japanese lacquer to make it hard, and decorate them with gold, silver, mother-of-pearl inlay, etc.
The number of steps to make Wajima Lacquerwares counts more than 100 and they are all done by artisans’ hands. It includes giving a coat of paste made from diatomaceous earth. This special recipe was adopted around 15 century and since then it has distinguished Wajima Lacquerware from other Japanese lacquer wares.
Wajima art is now used for making bowls and dishes, flower vessels, plates, lunch boxes, and small furniture such as caskets. They truly represent the beauty of Japanese culture, especially when they are in daily use.
Wajima Lacquerware was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1975.