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Kamakura carved lacquerware
About Kamakura carved lacquerware

Kamakura carved lacquerware orignated in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the introduction of Zen Buddhism from China brought with it carved lacquerware and other crafts. Sculptors of Buddhist images in Japan were influenced by these crafts, and they applied similar techniques to create temple furnishings. Later on, with the rise in popularity of the tea ceremony, tea utensils also began to be made.

Katsura, ginkgo, and Japanese magnolia are commonly used as wood bases for Kamakura carved lacquerware. After carving the design on the wood, it is painted with raw lacquer sap and sprinkled with carbon dust and polishing powder to make the undercoat. Red and black lacquer are applied then polished repeatedly in several coats. As a finishing touch, powder from a plant called makomo is sprinkled then polished to give the piece texture and sturdiness as well as an antique feel.

In 2009, as part of an initiative to establish Kamakura carved lacquerware as a brand, the craft was registered as a trademark, covering products such as trays, brooches, jewelry boxes, mirror stands, and more.

Designated as a Traditional Craft of Japan in 1979
Creators of Kamakura carved lacquerware