The lacquer itself is the filtered or heat-treated sap of the lacquer tree, or Rhus verniciflua, and contains no chemicals or tints. To apply the lacquer to the base, a special brush called ‘hake’ is used, which traditionally is made from human hair, which is said to have the perfect texture for this. Originally, male artisans used to grouw out their own hair to make the ‘hake’, but nowadays they are mostly made by animal hair such as sheep, minks, and even mice.
The word “urushi” – or Japanese lacquerware itself, consist of ‘uruwashi’ (beautiful) and ‘uruosu’ (to moisten).
The Chinese characters for this type of tree (漆) , unlike most tree types do not contain the usual (木) radical. Instead, the radical for water is used (氵), which emphasizes that the tree is valuable not so much for its wood, but its water, or sap.
Wajima lacquer is one of Japan's most prestigious lacquer-ware. Traditionally with gold inlays, modern objects use matt lacquer too.
Transparent lacquer is applied to robust Zelkova wood. It is used as day-to-day tableware that can lost for long.
This lacquer-ware has a characteristic mottled patterning. It is a very unique style from Hirosaki in northern Japan
Applying Japanese lacquer to glass is a very new technique. It allows to create new contemporary design using Japanese classic aesthetics.