Japan Wabunka Grandprix 2022 - Semi-grandprix
Materials: Lacquer, hemp cloth, Japanese paper, gold, shell, pigments
Techniques: Dry lacquer, Kawari-nuri, Maki-e, mother-of-pearl inlay
At first glance, the piece may looks like a leather product with zippers, but in fact it is all crafted using traditional lacquer techniques. Formed through the dry lacquer technique, layering hemp cloth with lacquer, the metal fittings are maki-e* , while Kawari-nuri** replicates the texture of the leather. The theme of these pieces is "visualizing perceptions." Zippers and leather goods are something familiar to most people, almost like a "surface covering what's inside." This piece is a simple box with a zipper that cannot be opened. Upon lifting the lid, you'll find Mother-of-pearl inlay (Raden) decorations on black lacquer, revealing this piece's origin in lacquer.
*Maki-e (literally, “sprinkled picture”) is a technique in which a picture or pattern is drawn in lacquer, gold or silver powder is sprinkled on the lacquer before it dries, and the adhesive force of the lacquer hardens it to form a pattern or design.
**Kwari-nuri is a general term for techniques that take full advantage of the special characteristics of lacquer. It encompasses various techniques, such as repeatedly applying and polishing multiple coats of colored lacquer or utilizing the adhesive strength of lacquer.
Reference: KOUGEI STANDARD - JAPANESE CRAFTS ONLINE MEDIA: https://www.kogeistandard.com/resource/
Coating layers of lacquer creates a resilient and beautiful surface, yet at times, it makes it hard to see what's inside. This kind of dilemma is a unique charm of lacquer art, but I think it's similar to various things thst happen around us. Take money, for instance—it's a handy way to put a value on things in numbers, but getting too fixated on those numbers might make us lose sight of their true worth.
I think it's essentialin today's society to not just focus on the surface of things but also to pay attention to those "invisible aspects". At the same time, seeking honesty in the unseen isn't just a trait of lacquer art; it's a vital spirit that has upheld Japan's culture.
【Review】by Risa TanakaPresident, Professor THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF PROJECT DESIGN, Chairman of the Jury
This piece beautifully merges tradition and innovation, embodying the essence of Japanese culture and the purpose of this award. It appears as a leather product but surprises with a non-functional zipper. Opening it reveals a stunning lacquer surface, defying initial perceptions and sparking the imagination of those who interact with it. The creator might find joy in this situation (breaking preconceptions). Despite meticulous planning, the masterful craftsmanship shines effortlessly. It's a delightful surprise.
Japanese craftsmanship has been honed over a long history.
What makes it unquie and attarctive is the amount of dedication and attention Japanese craftmen put into hidden details.
As a craft creator in Japan, I'll keep working hard to understand and share the real charm of Japanese culture.
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