photo Choshitsu


Dozens of layers of colored Urushi are painted on to a plain surface. Then, a carving blade is used to carve into these layers and make designs in relief. This technique was conveyed from China about 800 years ago.


Facts about choshitsu

The first step in creating choshitsu ware is to apply many layers of colored Urushi, keeping the finished product in mind.
With black lacquer it takes 100 coats to produce a coating three millimeters thick.
When black Urushi is used, the technique is known as tsuikoku, and when vermilion Urushi is used it is called tsuishu.

Did you know?

The beauty of choshitsu lies in the three-dimensional relief carvings and the brilliance of the layers of colored Urushi.


How to make choshitsu

  1. (1) Apply layer after layer of different colors of Urushi
  2. (2) Carve a design in such a way that the various layers of color are visible
  3. (3) Use a fine whetstone to sand the surface to a high degree of smoothness
  4. (4) Burnish the surface (in places)
  • "What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo / List of works English translation: Kazuko Todate (Art critic / Art historian)


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