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In this watchmojo video learn about the art form of lacquering, which is one of Japan’s most traditional and cherished methods ...
of creating handcrafts.
Tags:The Japanese Art Form of Lacquer,ancient arts,japanese ancient art,Japanese art,japanese decorative objects,japanese lacquer,lacquer art,watchmojo,japanese urushi trees
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Veronica: Japanese lacquer ware is a complex artistic medium that continues to be used since ancient times. Hi! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, I'm your host Veronica and today, we get to take a closer look with Sonia Dondonell. So can you tell us what lacquer is?
Sonia: Vegetal Lacquer is collected from several different kinds of trees, but in Japan, they collected from the lacquer tree Urushi.
Veronica: And what’s the history behind that?
Sonia: The oldest object that we found in Japan, lacquer object is 9000 years old. So it’s quite amazing, a thing that people at that time already find out that using the resin coming out from the lacquer tree would protect and also decorate objects.
Veronica: So what is the process behind this technique?
Sonia: Nowadays, what they will do and most of the time is they will collect all the resin from the single tree during one season only. That means that at the end of the season after scratching the tree repeatedly, the sap can no longer circulate, so the tree would die anyway, so most of the time it’s cut off within a short period of time, you will see sacs all around and 10 years later, the lacquer can be collected from that tree again.
Veronica: And how did they go into making something, like the art behind this?
Sonia: Sometimes it’s not one person that does the artwork but several work in a row, like one would be making a wooden core and then one would be applying, priming coats and then one would be lacquering and then maybe another one would be decorating with one of the specialized techniques that are available nowadays.
Veronica: And what are some of the different techniques used to decorate the piece?
Sonia: A very Japanese technique is called makie, that’s the sprinkled painting. What they will do is they will draw the pattern using lacquer and then while it’s not dry, they would sprinkle gold or metallic dust. That’s the way they create the patterns.