If you’re ever antiquing, you may come across a black lacquer tray featuring a 16-petal chrysanthemum design. This is a Kutsuki-bon, and it’s a well-loved traditional craft that gained popularity across Japan during the Edo period (1600 ~ 1867). These trays came from Kutsuki-mura, a town on the west side of Lake Biwa. The town was also known for other types of wooden tableware including bowls and ladles. Although such items are a mainstay of any Japanese dinner table, the practice of using a lathe to shape wood is said to have originated on the east side of the lake. Artisans known as kijiya traveled throughout Japan, but some were said to have settled in Kutsuki, in order to make Kutsuki-bon. Although there are other variations of lacquer work, the simple yet bold designs rendered in silver and gold continue to make an impact, far beyond the original artist’s lifetime.
May 28, 2017
2080-7 Makinocho Kaizu, Takashima-shi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan 520-1811
http://furudougu-kaizu.jp/ (Japanese only)