Niigata lacquerware

Niigata lacquerware Niigata shikki

A treasure trove of various coating techniques
Coating variations produced from cultural exchange


What is Niigata lacquerware ?

Niigata Lacquerware is a form of lacquerware produced in the area around Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture. The characteristics of Niigata Lacquerware are its various coating techniques (such as hana-nuri, ishime-nuri, nishiki-nuri, isokusa-nuri and take-nuri) and the great diversity of styles that can be enjoyed.
Hana-nuri is a technique whose charms are simple beauty and luster, as there are no patterns applied. Ishime-nuri expresses the rough feeling inherent in stone, with the coating providing a hard surface that is resistant to scratching. Nishiki-nuri involves repeated coating of colored lacquer with a wad of hemp cord, after which characteristic irregular speckles in the various layers of lacquer are made to appear by polishing the surface. Like nishiki-nuri, isokusa-nuri also involves repeated coating of colored lacquer, but a pattern that looks like seaweed swaying between waves is expressed by using a board-shaped wad to apply the lacquer with a rotating motion. Take-nuri, where bamboo nodes and soot-stained impressions are expressed by lacquer, is the typical technique used in Niigata Lacquerware.
Various forms of lacquerware can be enjoyed, along with other traditional lacquering techniques including kinma-nuri, seido-nuri, aokai-nuri, roiro-nuri and shitan-nuri. There are also various new lacquer productions, such as yuhi-nuri.


Niigata lacquerware - History

Niigata City has long been a center of trade, and is a place where cultures from various places arrive by sea or by land, with lacquerware technology one such form of imported culture. The history of Niigata Lacquerware is said to originate from the years 1615 to 1624 (the Genna Era) at the beginning of the Edo Period, when Akita’s shunkei-nuri lacquering was taught. At that time, production was centered on items for daily use such as trays and small dining tables.
In 1638, an exclusive sales region for lacquerware known as Wandana was established, and the production of lacquerware was protected. The maki-e technique was conveyed in the years 1764 to 1771 (the Meiwa Era), and coating techniques unique to Niigata such as isokusa-nuri and kinma-nuri were created at the beginning of the 19th Century. Since Niigata was a port of call for cargo ships sailing the Sea of Japan at that time, the market expanded to various other parts of Japan, including Edo (now Tokyo) and Osaka, and by the end of the Edo Period Niigata had become Japan’s leading area of lacquerware production. The bamboo coating technique was then taught in the middle of the Meiji Period, and this became the technique most widely associated with Niigata Lacquerware.
The various forms of coating that are a characteristic of Niigata Lacquerware are a result of absorbing technologies from various regions and the great efforts of the people of Niigata who developed them.

General Production Process

Where to Buy & More Information

Nigata Shikki Dogyo Kumiai

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