Introduction to Urushi with ‘Living National Treasure’ Murose Kazumi

Urushi, (Japanese lacquer) is a term which is more broadly used to describe the craft of applying natural lacquer, derived from tree sap, to items often made of wood. These items may then be decorated further, using a variety of different techniques

In this video, ‘Living National Treasure’ Murose Kazumi offers an introduction to urushi, including its arrival into Japan around the beginnings of the Shо̄sо̄in Repository in the Tenpyо̄ period (729-749).

Murose also talks about his own area of specialism; the technique of maki-e (lit. ‘sprinkled pictures’), in which powdered gold, silver or other precious materials are scattered onto or between layers of lacquer.

About Murose Kazumi

In 2008, Murose Kazumi was designated a Holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (‘Living National Treasure’) in the field of urushi for the maki-e (sprinkled picture) technique by the Japanese Government. He spends considerable time restoring ancient urushi works and helping to survey urushi collections from all periods. He cares passionately about fostering the next generation of urushi artists as well as promoting Japanese craft (kōgei) and its preservation. In the UK his work is represented in the British Museum and the V&A.

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