Kawatsura - SH Plate
By the time a single piece of Kawatsura lacquerware emerges, it has passed through the hands of several master artisans, each of whom gives it unstinting attention.
The Kijishi is in charge of shaping bowls and other round items from bare wood, while the Sashimonoshi fashions rectangular and curved pieces. After that the Nurishi applies the tree resin lacquer known as Urushi, and the Makieshi and Chinkinshi then decorate it with gold dust and gold leaf, respectively. Usually almost half a year is required at a minimum to complete a piece, even more than one year for some pieces.
Today, some two hundred artisan households in the village exquisitely breathes life into their lacquerware, proud of the trust invested in, and the quality of, the products made entirely by their own community.
Kawatsura lacquerware arose in the small village of Kawatsura ensconced in the mountains of Akita Prefecture. The origin of the lacquerware is said to hark back to the 12th century when Onodera Michinori was posted in the village and ordered his soldiers to apply urushi to their armour. The techniques required to produce the lacquerware has been handed down over the generations, from artisan to artisan, for more than eight centuries and continues to be a traditional craft that Japan admires with pride.