Odawara Lacquer Ware


The earliest examples of this ware were pieces of lacquered turned goods made from the plentiful supplies of wood available from the mountains around Hakone in the Muromachi period (1333-1568).
Some time later, the technique of applying colored lacquer known as iro-urushi-nuri was introduced when Hojo who governed the area at the time, invited lacquer ware craftsmen to come to the castle town in order to develop the local craft. It seems reasonable to suppose that the required became established during the Edo period (1600-1868), when lacquer was used on weapons and armor as well as for household goods such as soup bowls and trays.

The special features of this ware are the craftsmanship of the turnery and the way in which the lacquer brings out the beauty of the natural grain to the full. There are two types of lacquer ware, kijiro-nuri on which clear lacquer is used and suri-urushi-nuri. For this raw lacquer is rubbed well into the polished surface of the wood. Even today, bowls, plates, trays and coasters are the principle items produced sustaining this craft.


Odawara shikki is unique for its advanced wood turning techniques and lacquer that reveals the full natural beauty of the underlying wood grain. Instead of hiding the wood grain, the key techniques of Suriurushi-nuri, applying extremely thin layers of lacquer, and Kijiro-nuri, using a finishing lacquer of incredible clarity, bring out the full beauty of the underlying wood.

How to make

A spinning lathe or turning lathe is used for the initial shaping of the wood. Once it is shaped, it is polished with natural rushes to prepare it for lacquering. The first lacquering step of Suriurushi-nuri involves applying an extremely thin layer of raw lacquer to the wood, waiting for it to be absorbed and then applying another layer countless times. In the next step of Irourushi-nuri, black lacquer is applied as a base layer, and after it dries another layer of red or black lacquer is applied on top, which brings out a deep luster. For the final step of Kijiro-nuri, top coat of incredibly clear lacquer is applied to finish the product.