Kamakura-bori Lacquer Tray with Temari Ball Set

Vintage Japanese Kamakura-bori Lacquer Presentation Tray with Relief Carving of Jishi, and Temari Ball | Six Temari Ball Set


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 24-0”l x 15-1/2”w x 3-0”h

This Kamakura-bori Lacquer Presentation Tray and Temari Balls were purchased in 1985 from an elderly Japanese couple in which the wife collected Temari and any object that related to the craft.

This presentation tray is hand crafted and shows incredible artisan craftsmanship with great attention to detail. The motif on the tray represents a very striking, carved Shi-shi, who is considered a guardian with magical powers to repel evil, playing with a large Temari ball, both in Hiramakie carving, (low relief). The images stand above the multi-layered Urushi-nuri lacquer coatings, (black and red), and polished textured surface. The face and entire body of the Shi-shi are dramatic and beautifully scaled, showing sharp teeth, wing-like ears, and expressive eyes. A stylized flowing mane cascades around the neck and shoulders, and its large paws give balance and motion. It has two beautifully fashioned handles at each end, which pierce through the sides of the tray. Such a large tray is rare and hard to find, particularly with this combination of motif and most likely created for a specific customer. “Mingei” are handcrafted items and are rarely signed by the artist or craftsperson.

The Temari, also hand crafted and included in this set range vary from 6”, 5”, 4”, 2" in diameter, of which some temari have tassels and considered presentation balls, that incorporates a large dragonfly knot incorporated into a foot long silk tassel.

Vintage Condition: Excellent as originally made. “As is” with no affects from aging, and retains the original craft/workmanship. The tray is in exceptional condition with no flaws or cracking, (particularly on the corners), with full retention of lacquer coloring, and free of surface scratches. The Tamari balls are all handmade vintage pieces in excellent condition with no thread breakage or missing elements. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage is noted. 

NOTE: Japanese lacquerware is referred to as Shikki, which is lacquer ware in the most literal sense, while nurimono means “coated things”, and urushi-nuri means’ “lacquer coating.” The Japanese government had identified fourteen, (14), major lacquer centers, each with their own unique style and application of the lacquering process.

Kamakura Lacquerware is a work of art with a seven-century old history, dating from the early 1300s. The style itself has it roots in the traditional art of Buddhist sculpture, and has been handed down to the present day artisans. Kamakura-bori has also created by a team of specialists all working to complete a beautiful unified piece. Continued efforts have been made to improve the designs and other aspects, with special importance being always attached to the preservation of this traditional art.

Temari were initially used, (1800-1950), as a soft toy for Otedama, (Juggling). As time passed the traditional Temari ball became an art and craft of the Japanese upper class, and noble women competed in creating more and more beautiful and intricate balls and judged by the most intricate, opulent, brightest or most subtle use of remnants of old high quality kimono fabrics elaborately embroidered in exciting patterns and color.

Temari remains a Japanese symbol of perfection and covers a span of almost 1400 years. It is a gift given in joy and happiness. It is sometimes called a “mother’s love ball” by older Japanese. Children traditionally received a shimmering gold threaded Temari ball from their parents on New Year’s Day, some of which had rice inside to rattling sound. Temari in general were considered highly valued and cherished gifts symbolizing love, deep friendship and loyalty.