Takaoka Lacquer Ware
This lacquer craft started at the beginning of the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the lord of the Kaga clan wielding power over the Hokuriku region built Takaoka castle in what is now Takaoka City. It was then that lacquerers began making all manners of household goods as well as chests and lacquered items of armor and weaponry. Later the Chinese lacquering techniques of tsuishu and tsuikoku were introduced and techniques appeared using a number of colored lacquers and deep relief carving to produce a three-dimensional effect, and such wares as sabi-e using a grinding power mixed with the natural lacquer, raden using iridescent shell, and zonsei which is a colorful style with linear decorations, were all produced. Gradually with the ascendancy of the merchant classes, Takaoka lacquer ware became thoroughly established and flourished, and it was almost inevitable that an encyclopedic range of local lacquering techniques were used to produce the flamboyant decorations for the floats drawn in procession during Takaoka's own festival.
Cultivated by its long history, the most representative of Takaoka lacquer ware skills have all been kept alive. There is yuusuke-nuri done in the sabi-e technique with beautiful stones set in a ground of black lacquer, which has hints of red and green coloring. Then there is chokoku-nuri, the deep relief and multicolored ware that looks so three-dimensional. And then there is the glittering aogai-nuri using the rainbow effects of the inside of abalone and turban shells to produce flower and bird motifs or scenes of nature set into the lacquer ground. All are masterpieces of technique and design, and are part of the rich repertoire of styles used in the making of trays, boxes and other interior items. There are 101 firms employing 397 people, among whom are 18 government recognized Master Craftsmen sustaining this intricate, skill laden craft.
- Traditional Takaoka Lacquerware Association
- 1-1 Kaihatsu-honmachi,
Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture