This Japanese vintage shikki 漆器 set of five meimei-zara E-Gawari plates comes with the original signed box!. They are quite unique and lovely. In addition to being used for a tea ceremony, they would make a great addition to any table setting, an intimate group get together for a tapas spread, or even a great group to create decorative wall art. And what conversation pieces, made by at least one if not two artists as wood carver and painter.
As for the item's name; shikki 漆器 is the Japanese word for lacquerware. Urushi-nuri is just one of the fine types of lacquerware made in Japan. Meimei- zara is the generic Japanese word for 'a set of plates used for the tea ceremony', 'E-Gawari' refers to the style of each plate in a set having their own design, each is different. They are authentic hand carved Japanese wood plates made by an artist(s) or craftsperson(s).
One can see the life circles of the tree from which they were carved. The lines going in the opposite direction are not scratches, they are simply an original anomaly of the tree. I am not sure about the type of wood but they are delicate yet sturdy. They were carefully hand decorated with black lacquer. Then, each plate was very carefully hand decorated with leaves and flower buds, birds, pine branches, fans, and maple leaves representing the leaves falling. Lacquerware from Japan is work intensive for the artists, although much more so in the older days.
They are in excellent condition with no chips or evident scratches, please see the pictures, and we have more of the backs and such which we are happy to share with the interested buyer, since they will not all fit here. They are about 30 years old, dating to the late Showa period of 1926-1989. This would make a wonderful and unique gift, for sure. They come with the original box called a tomobako, we do not know what it says, and they were a purchase from Japan, but the seller was not sure. The writing like this is sometimes harder to read, Japan has so many different types... most likely a company name in the top right corner, the item description in the center, and the artist name in the bottom left corner. followed by a red seal stamp of either the artist or lacquerware company, read right to left. Enjoy!
Sizes: Diameter 6.6 inches or 16.8 cm, Height .9 inch or 2.2 cm. Weight with box 820 grams or 1 lb, 12.92 ounces.
from Jishio website on Urushi Shikki 漆器 or Lacquerware
Raw urushi is used for base coats, and refined urushi is used for top coats and decoration. The process of producing typical wooden urushi lacquerware has over 20 steps, and more than a hundred individual processes, still done by hand. Even a small object like a bowl can take over 6 months to make. These steps include: seasoning the wood, carving and sanding it to form the object, reinforcing fragile parts with linen cloth for Wajima nuri, applying several base coats of raw lacquer with drying and polishing between each coat, applying several coats of refined black or red lacquer with more drying and polishing between each coat. Finally, decoration such as maki-e can be applied to the still-wet adhesive urushi, or it can remain in its subtly beautiful undecorated state.
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Japanese Vintage Urushi-nuri Shikki 漆器 Set of Five Meimei-zara E-Gawari Plates