A charming hot spring resort town that has been thriving for more than 1,300 years, Yamanaka Onsen has meanwhile acquired the reputation of having nurtured generations of highly skilled and creative lacquer artists and woodworkers. Allegedly, the art of Yamanaka Lacquerware originated at the end of the 16th century with the settlement in the mountains of Kaga of woodworking craftsmen in search for the most appropriate materials to create their works.
Though from the second half of the 19th century on, new lacquering and ornamentation techniques such as gold powder sprinkling (Maki-e) were introduced, in striking contrast with more modern lacquerware characterized by more and more sophisticated designs, the Yamanaka lacquerware is mostly regarded for its ascetic beauty. Its most remarkable features lies in the use of wood pieces cut in the trunk’s length. The rather unusual choice of not cutting the pieces vertically allows the artist to focus on the wood’s inner aesthetic qualities. The Yamanaka lacquerware products are at their most expressive when avoiding sophisticated decoration motifs but rather highlighting the stunning beauty and diversity of the wood grain patterns that will live on glossing through an almost transparent multi-layered lacquer coat.
Deeply rooted in the area’s tradition of hospitality, Yamanaka lacquerware creations range from traditional items such as trays, boxes, soup bowls, and utensils for the tea ceremony to supremely elegant items and tools that are suited for everyday use.
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