The history of Echizen lacquerware goes back to the 6th century, and the place where it is made (in present-day Fukui Prefecture) is known as the oldest lacquerware-producing region in Japan. The Emperor of Japan at the time ordered a lacquer artisan to repair his broken crown, and the artisan presented him a black lacquered bowl along with the repaired crown. The emperor was was so impressed with the work that he encouraged the lacquerware industry in the area, and this is said to be the beginning of Echizen lacquerware.
In the Muromachi period (1336-1573), production of lacquerware for Buddhist rituals flourished. Near the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), techniques such as chinkin (gold engraving) and maki-e (sprinkled gold powder) were introduced, further establishing Echizen as a major lacquerware region in Japan.
Echizen lacquerware features a characteristic mirror-like gloss made through a technique called "roiro-nuri", or a smooth, deep luster made through a finishing technique called "hana-nuri".
Today, in addition to making traditional lacquerware, Echizen also produces over 80% of the industrial lacquerware in Japan.
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