Japanese Antique Lacquerware Clam Shell

Japanese Vintage Wakasa Lacquer Clam Shell


Age:Pre- 1930

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 3-1/8”h x 8-1/4”w x 7-3/4”d  

This beautifully patinated lacquer clamshell is unusually large and from Wakasa, known for exceptional lacquer craftsmanship which began during the Edo period. The lacquer and wood clamshell shows the richness of the modeled red lacquer, which transcends into a well-defined pattern of horizontal stripes of yellow/brown and black. The motif is on both sides of the shell, which is beautifully carving with a deep complimenting finish. The wooden clam is two-sided, matching perfectly so that the two pieces join nicely. The interior has black lacquer edges and a red lacquer interior on the concave portion of the clamshell.

Vintage Condition: Excellent with beautiful modeling and detail throughout the piece. Employed is an exceptional number of layers of lacquer giving depth to the finish. “As is”, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted.     

NOTE: The Wakasa group of artists from the Obama clan began making forms, and decorating their work with images depicting realistic ocean life. The craftsmen were known for developing a process of building up lacquer coatings, (up to 18 we understand), of several colors, black being the foundation color that gave the piece depth. The artist makes the decision as to when he feels the piece has reached the depth of color he envisioned through layers of lacquer. After the lacquer sets the artist began rubbing down the lacquer, coated surface to establish the desired patina. This process produced a distinctly random decorative modeling and pattern.