A rare Japanese Vintage lacquered wood Kogo or incense holder of high-quality work. It is not often that we have the opportunity to find a nice wooden kogo especially one with this unique design and fine hand work, most are pottery. A kogo is a small Japanese case most often used to hold rolled incense balls in the tea ceremony and also used in other traditional ceremonies and places. They make wonderful artistic decorative objects and collectors items for the home and small boxes for holding any other small items, if not for incense. This kogo is made of top quality Japanese wood and completely lacquered with urushi. Urushi is a special lacquer made of the natural resin of a tree. Please note the perfect layers on the outside and detailed carved circles on the inside. hand carved detail on both the outside and inside. The inside lines running around the top and the bottom and close together is usually indicative of a thick heavy piece. The top consists of five different color borders surrounding the red circle in the center, two with hand carving in them, the innermost carvings of large pine leaves, the outer we do not know, a traditional Japanese design, no doubt. This very interesting kogo is carved and appears to be put together in layers, then painted on the top, then lacquered inside and out. It almost looks like it is designed as a motif of a spinning top toy but with a bit more class. It is in good condition with no cracks or chips. I do not know where it was made or the age, we have a tea caddy similar in design from Kyoto, Japan and as I recall it was about 30 years old. I believe this may be a bit older, however, in my opinion. This is a nice quality wood kogo.
SIZE: Diameter: 2.83 " or 7.2 cm. Height: 1.38" or 3.5 cm
Japanese Lacquerware or Shikki 漆器
Iro-urushi 色漆, literally 'color lacquer', was created by adding pigments to clear lacquer. The limits of natural pigments allowed only five colors- red, black, yellow, green and brown. Up until the 19th century, when various innovations appeared, along with the later introduction of Western artificial pigments. Shibata Zeshin was a major innovator in this field, using not only color but also other substances mixed in with his lacquer to achieve a wide variety of effects, including the simulated appearance of precious metals, which were heavily restricted from artistic use at the time due to government concerns over excessive extravagance.
Urushi-hanga 漆絵版画, developed by Hakuo Iriyama, producing a printing plate from dry lacquer, was carved and finally used like a block print but instead of traditional printing, for colors with pigmented lacquer. Regional forms - as with most traditional arts, variations emerged over time as individual centers of production developed their own unique techniques and styles.
Maki-e 蒔絵, literally: sprinkled picture is Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder as a decoration using a makizutsu or a kebo brush. The technique was developed mainly in the Heian Period 794–1185 and blossomed in the Edo Period 1603–1868. Maki-e objects were initially designed as household items for court nobles; they soon gained more popularity and were adopted by royal families and military leaders as a symbol of power. To create different colours and textures, maki-e artists use a variety of metal powders including gold, silver, copper, brass, lead, aluminum, platinum, and pewter, as well as their alloys. Bamboo tubes and soft brushes of various sizes are used for laying powders and drawing fine lines.
As it requires highly skilled craftsmanship to produce a maki-e painting, young artists usually go through many years of training to develop the skills and to ultimately become maki-e masters.
excerpts from Wikipedia 8/15/16
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