Japan has various famous styles of lacquer ware. One of them is Yamanaka Lacquerware, from the Yamanaka area of Ishikawa Prefecture in Central Japan.
Yamanaka Lacquerware originated during the Azuchi Momoyama period (1568 – 1600) when local woodworkers moved up the stream of the Yamanaka onsen, where they used the surrounding trees for raw materials. Lacquer artworks first took ground in Kyoto; what makes Yamanaka Lacquerware special is their decorations, which are made by carving the wood with a potter’s wheel method.
There are about 10 different techniques to do this.
First, the lumber is stripped from the wood in the direction of the wood grow, so that it remains stable and highly resistant against any impact. This allows the wood to be used to craft the airtight tea containers that need to be highly resistant against air, temperature and pressure in order to protect the tea leaves kept in it. The next step is to process the wood using a potter’s wheel, or “rokuro” in Japanese. “rokuro hiki” is the technique used to shave the wood with the potter’s wheel, allowing them to create extremely detailed decorations.
One of the specialty products of Yamanaka Lacquerware is high quality tea containers. Their production process is detailed, extensive, and requires a very high level of creativity and craftsmanship.