Niigata Lacquer Ware


Techniques were originally introduced from other centers where lacquer ware was being made at the beginning of 17th century but in 1638, a specialist area for the selling of japanned goods was established under the name of a ""bowl store"" in what is now Furumachi, and received official protection. By 1819, the craft was well enough established for a list of ""master lacquerers"" to be recorded.

Being one of the ports used by trading ships plying the Japan Sea coast, Niigata has always been a focus for goods and culture and as such, this greatly contributed to the development of the craft as a variety of different techniques were introduced from various other regions.

In fact, Niigata Shikki is characterized by a number of different styles, including one which simulates the appearance of bamboo. This is done by first creating the kind of distinctive nodes of this tree grass at an early stage of the production and then by using colored lacquer to create the patterning of bamboo in a technique, which cannot be seen in any other center where lacquer ware is being produced.

Nevertheless, given the particular nature of this ware and the variety of interesting items being produced, it can proudly take its place along side the other fine lacquer wares still being produced in Japan today.


While Niigata shikki contains a variety of techniques including Flower lacquering, stone-patterned lacquering, and beach grass lacquering, its technique of bamboo lacquering is the most well known. Using rust to create the bamboo joints on the base material, and then creating the pattern of the bamboo stalk with the lacquer, bamboo lacquering is a technique that can be found nowhere else in Japan.

How to make

The first step to creating beautiful lacquerware is to dry the base wood to a durable finish, and then carve out the shape. After the wood is carved, to ensure a durable product, a base lacquer, then middle lacquer and finally top lacquer is applied by different craftsmen, producing a final product with countless individual layers.