Yamanaka lacquerware

Yamanaka Lacquerware

The hot spring town of Yamanaka Onsen has acquired over the centuries the reputation of having nurtured generations of highly skilled and creative lacquer artists and woodworkers. Allegedly, the Yamanaka lacquerware art 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 exercise their art on.

Though from the second half of the 19th century on new lacquering and ornamentation techniques such as gold powder sprinkling (Maki-e) were introduced, the Yamanaka lacquerware is mostly regarded for its ascetic beauty, owing to one of its most remarkable features: 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 motives but rather highlighting the stunning beauty and diversity of the wood grain and streaks patterns that live on glossing through an almost transparent multi-layered lacquer coat.

Deeply rooted in the area’s tradition for 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.