Kawatsura lacquerware began in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). It is said to have begun when the younger brother of Shigemichi Onodera, the first lord of Inaniwa Castle and a retainer of the shogun Minamoto Yoritomo, ordered peasants to lacquer weapons and armor as a side job during the winter. In the late Edo period (1603-1868), bowls, stacking boxes, and other items for daily use came to be widely produced.
Kawatsura lacquerware is made using wood that has been smoked and dried for long periods at low temperature, a process that makes it resistant to warping. The wood is then coated and polished for several repetitions, before it is finished with a technique called "hananuri" which involves applying lacquer and letting it dry without polishing. Expert skill is required to apply the thick final coat without leaving brushstrokes, and this imparts the item with the natural shine of lacquer.
Today, most of the items produced are bowls and other tableware. Kawatsura lacquerware has been praised for being a craft that is easy to use, with excellent durability and a reasonable price.
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