Japanese Antique Lacquered Round Box and Cover | Taisho Period

Sale price$225.00

Dimensions: 6-1/2” dia x 3-1/4”h

This is a very large, rare and superbly carved lacquer container, and one of the finest examples of Murakami carving techniques we have encountered. The chrysanthemum, (kiku), is in raised relief, (Takamakie), and the entire surface is superb, with many layers of lacquer creating a deeply textured surface. This container is called a Jikiro, a special bowl used for tea ceremony. There are three layers intricately carved, utilizing the black, dark, and light red lacquers to create an exceptional aesthetic on the exterior lid and sides. It is completed with a black base and interior, and all is layered over paulownia wood.

Vintage Condition: Excellent with unusually defined carving with an exceptional number of layers of lacquer giving depth to the finish. “As Is”, and retains the original craft/workmanship and perfect marriage between the lid and bowl. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage noted.     

NOTE: Murakami, a castle town in the far North of the Echigo district, is part of Niigata Prefecture, on the West coast of Japan. After the wood has been shaped the woodworker employs small knives to depict traditional landscapes, flowers and bird arrangements, or contemporary scenes into the surface. The lacquerer than takes over. Numerous layers of lacquer are applied, allowed to dry, and polished, prior to t he final burnishing of the top-coat with a special oily clay.

Specific terms for Japanese decorative lacquer techniques:

Hiramakie (low relief): the design is contained in one lacquer layer that stands up very slightly above the polished but undecorated surface.

Takamakie (high relief): the design is made with multiple lacquer layers, creating a sculptural effect.

Todigdashi makie: the design is covered with lacquer layers and the surface is polished completely smooth