This Japanese Vintage Lacquer Ware Choshitsu- Tsuio Ovoid Vase by Sanuki Laquer ware is a unique lacquer ware piece of art. It is about 30 years old dating to the end of the Showa period. Choshitsu is the term used nowadays as the general term to describe the beautiful patterns created by utilizing a special method of painting on engraved layers of the lacquer ware surfaces often of different colors. This vase was made by a lacquerware specialist at the Sanuka lacquer ware company, a famous lacquer ware maker in Kagawa, Japan and a maker of high quality revered Choshitsu lacquer ware. These type wares are often called 'Kagawa Lacquer ware'.
For lacquer ware of 2 colors or more, thick layers are created and engraved resulting in a colorful and unique pattern called 'benibanaryokuyo' from olden times. On a hot molded copper metal vase, lacquer is painted in many layers probably beginning with the 'shikoku' or carved black lacquer. Depending on the depth of the lacquer color the artist wishes to pull up, one can see how they carved and pulled the three different colors into the carving of the designs. The dark reddish brown is probably the deepest and may have more layers of this color representing seeds and buds, then mostly alternating 'benibanaryokuyo' using the dominant safflor green. Yellow or 'tsuio' and tsuishu or a shade of red are the other colors used in Choshitsu which can be seen as flowers and leaves. One can see why the work with layering and carving the lacquer alone takes hours of work. This piece is done perfectly with its high-class high-quality manner.
This piece is gorgeous and in excellent condition with no cracks. chips or missing pieces, it is a high appraisal piece per our dealer in Japan. The upper rim and lower flat foot are fine showing the nicely done copperware. The artist has carved it with the mark of Sanuki. See more below about Choshitsu lacquer ware. This vase is a nice size display or shelf vase and a heavy well-made lacquer ware vase:
Sizes: Height 8.3 inches or 21 cm, Diameter at widest 7 inches or 17.8 cm. Weight 1200 grams or 2 lbs 10.2 oz.
Choshitsu Lacquer ware
At present in Kagawa, Japan, new techniques are being developed but we can say that the special features of Choshitsu are the precision of fine, sensitive cutting knife movements which establish the final symmetry of the piece. Among lacquer ware techniques, this sculpting method is notable for its enhancement of the character of lacquer. Kagawa Urushi Lacquer Ware Institute is an institute that follows in the tradition of high-quality Kagawa lacquerware. Kagawa lacquerware was developed under the protection and encouragement of the lord of the Takamatsu domain in the Edo period, and since then many artisans have emerged.
Many of the bori-tsuishu carved lacquerware appeared around 200 years ago, when a samurai who was transferred to Edo or Tokyo, and are based upon the basic technique of choshitsu or lacquer carving. In 1955, Otomaru Kodo of Kagawa was selected by the Ministry of Education as a national living cultural treasure and in 1976 Kagawa prefecture received the honour of being designated an important region of production in line with traditional craft industry production promotion legislation by the nation.
For lacquer ware of 2 colors or more, thick layers are created and engraved resulting in a colorful and unique pattern called 'benibanaryokuyo' from olden times. Regardless of method, to make deep engravings on the lacquer surface adequate volumes of lacquer are required to create thickness and in some instances coating amounting to over 100 or 200 times is done. The end result of 100 layers however, only amounts to a miniscule 3 mm.
Today, by making full use of techniques such as Kinma, Zonsei, and Choshitsu, many lacquerware artists continue to play an important role in Kagawa and other prefectures. In Kagawa Urushi Lacquer Ware Institute, founded to preserve and pass on the art of Kagawa lacquerware, students work hard and receive training to master the techniques of lacquerware under instructors, including master artisans known as Living National Treasures.
See more about this in these two excerpted articles and for more detail on how these wares are made at the 'my kagawa' Kagawa prefecture website, and the city of Takamatsu site.
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