Japanese Lacquer Tray Set with Mount Fuji, Trees and Birds Motif

SKU: 2021000263
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Japanese Lacquer Tray with Mount Fuji, Trees and Birds Motif from the Taisho-Showa Period (1912 - 1986), made in the famous Wajima prefecture in circa 1920-1940.

Trays like these were used to bear gifts for the nobles and the royal courts and were used in a wealthy aristocratic households of Japan. In some occasions they were also used as a formal clothing tray. Trays with lacquered surfaces are not only useful for food serving, but excellent for use as display trays, especially the contrasting black and gold. The smooth and glossy lacquer finish often enhances the quality of the item been presented. The trays where the center has been lacquered are more for decorative purposes, while trays with corner décor and black finished are used more for serving. Apart from being very practical, waterproof, heat resistant and easy to clean, it became the motor of visual arts in Asia. 

Wajima lacquerware consists of chinkin (gold inlay) and maki-e (gold-powder decoration) is one of Japan’s renowned lacquerware styles. Its distinguishing feature is its carefully applied undercoating. The wood used is from the Japanese zelkova and Noto hiba trees. The edges of vessels, which can be easily damaged, are covered with hemp cloth and strengthened with lacquer. After that, undercoating processes are repeated several times, using a mixture of locally produced diatomaceous earth powder and lacquer. This undercoating technique strengthens the products, and has made Wajima lacquerware world-famous, along with its delicate, elegant decoration.  Overall, the procedure is extremely complex, spanning as many as 124 individual processes altogether, and there are craftspeople who specialize at each step in the production. Wajima lacquerware has a long history handed down from the Muromachi period (1336~1573), and developed in the late Edo period and early Meiji period.

This Japanese Lacquer collection is a result of the von Buren trips to Japan and its various antique fairs, where this entire lot was collected, that ranges from 70 to over 250 years.