Niigata ShikkiNiigata Lacquer Ware

Lacquering technology came from other production centers at the beginning of the Edo era, and monopoly area of lacquer ware called bowl shop was established in current old town in 1638 (Kanei 15), and protectionism had stolen.
Document of 1819 (Bunsei 2) can watch name of painter craftsman. As Niigata was distribution center of supplies and culture as port of call of goods-carrying merchant ship, various technique from various districts developed into the making of Laquer Ware.

Techniques were originally introduced from other centers where lacquer ware was being made at the beginning of 17th century but in 1638, a specialist area for the selling of japanned goods was established under the name of a ""bowl store"" in what is now Furumachi, and received official protection. By 1819, the craft was well enough established for a list of ""master lacquerers"" to be recorded.

Being one of the ports used by trading ships plying the Japan Sea coast, Niigata has always been a focus for goods and culture and as such, this greatly contributed to the development of the craft as a variety of different techniques were introduced from various other regions.

In fact, Niigata Shikki is characterized by a number of different styles, including one which simulates the appearance of bamboo. This is done by first creating the kind of distinctive nodes of this tree grass at an early stage of the production and then by using colored lacquer to create the patterning of bamboo in a technique, which cannot be seen in any other center where lacquer ware is being produced.

Nevertheless, given the particular nature of this ware and the variety of interesting items being produced, it can proudly take its place along side the other fine lacquer wares still being produced in Japan today.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    After having applied unrefined varnish to bare wood, the groundwork can point out setsufunji and rust on the entire surface.

    Technique of kakuto

    When encounter final coating of lacquer, thing by the next technique or technique.

    After having done average coat, you work as grinder, and do final coating.

    When look good with fine-dots-perforation coat (black copper coat, bronze coat, tea copper coat, quarter coat), thing by the next technique or technique.

    After having applied lacquer, "tanfun*" does charcoal powder of tininess in irregularity design when there is for black copper coat, bronze coat, tea copper coat, quarter coat to average when it is in fine-dots-perforation coat, and do "funryu".

    After applying color lacquer after having done grind, and having polished again, repeat "suriurushi".

    When is in lacquer in various colors; thing by the next technique or technique.

    We swat, and "printer" paint irregularity pattern with ryoshokuurushi using thing which bundled up twine.

    After applying yellow, cinnabar red color lacquer, you apply green lacquer, and you print bell powder at the time of state of great distress, and be accompanied, and apply mokujiryorushi.

    Applying mokujiryorushi after having done grind, and beginning to polish pattern of Nishiki.

    As for the finish, "suriurushi" repeat "polishing" after "dosuri" "suriurushi".

    When encounter seaweed-patterned lacquering; thing by the next technique or technique.

    After having done average coat and grind, "printer" attach pattern of beach grass in black shiboriurushi to turn dabber.

    Beginning to polish pattern of beach grass after having applied each color lacquer.

    As for the finish, "suriurushi" repeat "polishing" after "dosuri" "suriurushi".

    When is in bamboo coat; thing by the next technique or technique.

    "Bamboo setting to music" mold knob design (pro-gnarl, groove, branch clause, root clause) of bamboo by rust.

    After the polishing the dried lacquered surface, apply color lacquer (smoke-stained bamboo, green bamboo, sesame bamboo) for average coat.

    After having done grind, final coating applies color lacquer for final coating, and, in the case of sesame bamboo, sow charcoal powder from this top.

    After having done grind, "design charge account" takes percent skin and touches designs such as small sum charge account, skin pull, bur charge account, sesame charge account, and perform "shinkomo*" and "wild rice last joke".

    Finish repeat "suriurushi".

    Raw materials

    Assume wood material having materials which are equal to hoo, wig, tochi, zelkova or these.

    Assume lacquer natural lacquer.

  • Work scenery

    Niigata Shikki has technique of various coating.
    Here, we introduce process of one of the coating "bamboo coat" to represent Niigata Shikki.

    Tree of Park (ho), Katsura (wig), zelkova (zelkova), horse chestnut (tochi) is used for basis material.

    Process 1: Tree hardening

    We paint basis material with unrefined varnish and infiltrate enough. Because unrefined varnish penetrates, waterproofing is put for tree.
    When basis material has joining part, we stick cloth such as hemp on the part with "paste lacquer" (and it can appear) which kneaded a mixture of unrefined varnish with the U.S. paste and may reinforce.

    We bury filler called "ground-cedar or podocarp-endodermis mixed with japan" (kokuso) in hollows such as gap in basis material or careful wound using spatula and fix appearance.
    We mix wheat flour and small piece of wood, and ground-cedar or podocarp-endodermis mixed with japan kneads a mixture with boiled rice which we did into paste form to unrefined varnish and makes.

    Process 2: Be rusted

    We work out "base powder" and tofun (saw) which we burn diatomaceous earth (keisodo) and hardened with water and mix unrefined varnish and grow the clay-formed groundwork called "rust" (rust).

    (1) Groundwork coat: We put rust on the basis material entire surface using spatulas uniformly.
    (2) Polish: If rust dries and hardens, we polish the surface in whetstone (we let you be) that we got wet with water and smooth off.

    (1) We do the groundwork soundly by repeating groundwork coat and (2) grind several times and stabilize shape.

    Process 3: Bamboo setting to music


    (1) We serve rust on the surface of basis material and make upheaval of knob with exclusive spatula.
    (2) We sharpen part becoming groove of knob of bamboo with chisel and fix form to seem to be knob, and to be seen.
    (3) We pile rust and make feel of a material of small part of bamboo including branch clause and root clause

    Process 4: Polishing the dried lacquered surface

    If rust dries and hardens, we polish the surface in whetstone that we got wet with water and smooth off.

    Process 5: Middle coating


    Color lacquer for average coat is three colors of smoke-stained bamboo color, green bamboo-colored sesame bamboo color. We use them as needed.
    We can enter coating, exclusive room (muro) called dry bath on the entire surface and dry color lacquer with brush.
    As for the temperature of room, around 20 degrees centigrade, humidity are kept by state about 70% so that lacquer coagulates because moderate moisture and temperature are necessary.

    Process 6: We polish average coat

    If average coat dries and hardens, we polish the surface in whetstone that we got wet with water and smooth off.

    Process 7: Final coating


    There is smoke-stained bamboo-colored green bamboo color to color lacquer for final coating three colors of sesame bamboo color. It is the same as color lacquer for average coat about green bamboo color, sesame bamboo color, but, as for the smoke-stained bamboo color, a few combination is different from thing for average coat.
    We paint the entire surface and we can take a dry bath and dry color lacquer for final coating with brush.
    After having been used to be old, and to sow charcoal powder before lacquer of final coating dries in the case of sesame bamboo color, we bathe drying and dry.

    Process 8: Polish

    If final coating dries and hardens, we polish the surface in whetstone (we let you be) that we got wet with water and smooth off.

    Process 9: With design

    We acquire skin design to express appearance of bamboo.
    In the case of final coating, we may express line of skin design by brush when it goes down using drawing lines stick after grind without using drawing lines stick.
    Furthermore, we express feel of a material of other parts as needed.
    Sectional state and small grain design of cut end of bamboo when we broke bamboo pick up sticky lacquer by spatula and brush and express and describe bur or spot of the neighborhood of knob in lacquer work writing brush.

    Process 10: shinkomo* (indian rice firewood)

    We paint people with transparent lacquer mainly on part of knob to shade off. In half-dried state, we are used to sow what's called wild rice which we dry gramineous plant and powdered by writing brush.
    Part which sowed wild rice powder becomes dark brown.
    When we make smoke-stained bamboo color, we sow wild rice powder and rank the whole.
    If we sow and attach wild rice powder, we can take a dry bath and dry.

    Process 11: Wild rice last joke

    We polish mask which puts water on brush that we made charcoal for grind powder, and sowed wild rice powder.
    We drop extra wild rice powder by polishing and express natural fugo of knob of bamboo.

    Process 12: suriurushi (and we can lose)

    Rubbing dye into cloth, drying bathe unrefined varnish on the entire surface and dry.
    We finish suriurushi gorgeously repeatedly several times.

    Process 13: Completion



  • Close-up

    It is Niigata Shikki rich power of expression to come out of various technique

    Soft light to get down on feel of a material that we just mistake for genuine bamboo and stone, state of dark seaweed shaking underwater, minute worm-eaten spot design to dazzle thing to see, the surface of wet temperaments.
    Lacquer shows really various expressions by how to paint. In Niigata, unique Laquer Ware which made full use of various technique from the Edo era is continued making.
    We watched story to Atsushi Imura who was attracted by fun made with Laquer Ware, and became craftsman, and was playing an active part as young person craftsman of expectation in the fifth year.


    The skill of coating to express feel of a material mademoo

    Imura being good "bamboo coat." It is one of the technique to represent "Niigata Shikki". We are surprised by reproduction of the precise feel of a material when we have chopsticks of bamboo coat producing well in our hand. Knob and temperaments are bamboo itself, but form is quadrangular pyramid which lengthened nimbly only by horn chopsticks. Thing of form that should be impossible exists with feel of a material of bamboo by bamboo. We watch the marvel unintentionally.
    Feel of a material peculiar to sinew and bamboo including turning point is expressed by technique of coating. Material is bare wood such as horse chestnut or Park. We serve nope strike for the groundwork there and cook knob and sinew. Hue of various bamboo paints "sesame bamboo" that "green bamboo" that "smoke-stained bamboo" that flavor is deep and refreshing green are refreshing and spot lay fun with lacquer which we toned carefully, and reddish yellow repeats and expresses. Scene that bare wood changes figure into bamboo is like magic and we are just looking and are delighted.
    Because fugo of bamboo is expressed too realistically, there are many people who do not notice what are made with lacquer. In addition, there is person to tell why you do not use bamboo itself. "Bamboo coat" is not the skill of simple reproduction. It is the skill to create figures of ideal bamboo which we cannot get in the real thing.

    Treasure house of hento (it is replaced and paints)

    Niigata Shikki has kind of various to including "bamboo coat". Minute pattern of indeterminate form is golden, and, in addition, "seaweed-patterned lacquering to hark back to seaweed shaking for "fine-dots-perforation coat" and wave with feel of a material such as stone," there is technique more than well 100 in Niigata Shikki "final coating of lacquer" full of luster that the smooth surface calmed down glittering "lacquer in various colors". Coat of this and others which is full of power of expression is named generally with "hento". Niigata Shikki that various products are created is called "treasure house of hento" from various technique.
    It is said that we can see technique of Laquer Ware of various parts of Japan in Niigata Shikki. Ship that Niigata turned around carrying product of the countries in the Edo era was base of together marine transportation. Laquer Ware of each places of the whole country was brought with supplies and culture in Niigata. Craftsmen of Niigata brought about original technique and expression based on them and created unique Laquer Ware.
    Craftsmen of Niigata continue making work even now while they protect long history from old days and the skill supported in tradition while repeating invention in technique like ancient people every day.


    • Seaweed-patterned lacquering

    • Final coating of lacquer

    • Fine-dots-perforation coat

    • Bamboo coat

    • Lacquer in various colors

    Lacquered expression to spread by combination

    We often see work which used coat of different kind together in Niigata Shikki. Imura calls such to "laying upon coat". It is up to sensitivity and technique of craftsman what kind of to you put together. There are fun and pleasure for creator and difficulty there.
    Imura brightens eyes saying "time to think about combination of coating is the happiest". When he thinks about combination of to, it is "bamboo coat" to play a key role. Various expression is created by matching other to with "bamboo coat". It is said that it is interesting. Fun of such a "laying upon coat" let way to Laquer Ware craftsman move forward. At first, simple; intended to help. It became main profession gradually. Imura shows refreshing smile saying it is saying "we fell into fun".

    Bamboo coat and laying upon coat of rose wood

    We make use of traditional technique in modern design

    As for Imura, it is said that we were not interested in Laquer Ware like other general youths very much until oneself becomes creator. Therefore we are aware of making "Laquer Ware which we want to use in usual times" with glance of youth. When we just began work of Laquer Ware, we have made work of modern coloration. However, work of traditional technique that father doing craftsman than own modern work which we made more than 40 years made had better reaction of visitor. We look back on work at the time saying it is saying "we are too much conscious, and quality of being a lacquer disappeared".
    It is said that we divide unconsciously before saying "tradition, oneself are suitable for young people as for the father" and were thinking. While we became craftsman and worked with Masaru of father for five years, way of thinking changed recently. Charm only by lacquer is full of works coming out of way of Masaru. The attractive source is traditional technique and the skill of craftsman. The skill is not worn overnight. It is said that we admired work of father again.
    "Making modern thing utilized lacquered charm using traditional technique" it is aim of current Imura.

    • Demonstration in event site

    • "Lacquered course" practical skill scenery. Lecturer is Minoru Koiso, Niigata Univ.'s emeritus professor

    Craftsman profile

    Atsushi Imura (imuraatsushi)

    1974, Niigata birth
    After having experienced company work, we begin help of work of Laquer Ware craftsman Masaru Imura who is father. Afterwards in earnest to way of craftsman. It is said that story came to bound as craftsmen with Masaru after having come to do the same work. We are playing an active part in publicity work of "Niigata Shikki" including demonstration in event and exhibition besides the making of work. Niigata-shi Laquer Ware trade association participates as practical skill assistant in "lacquered course" that they opened a course in for citizen. We convey pleasure made with Laquer Ware by bright personality.


    nuridon visit

    There is character who was born in order to convey the charm in Niigata Shikki widely. The name "nuridon." nuridon goes to every place in north, south, east and west, Japan as spokesman of Niigata Shikki and puts away even sometimes demonstrating. In hometown, Niigata, it is already popular person among primary schoolchildren. In fact, it is said that this nuridon, model are Imura who appeared for interview.

    ■The name: nuridon (nuridon)
    ■The date of birth: Unknown
    ■Occupation: Craftsman of Niigata Shikki and spokesman
    ■Address: Niigata
    ■Character: Mild diligent stubbornness (we do not budge an inch if we think once), seeing is blunt, but kindness is faithful and is unexpectedly curious newly
    ■Lifework: What we infiltrate in life while exploring having all understand characteristic of Niigata Shikki clearly and possibility of new Niigata Shikki.



Industrial art object name Niigata Shikki
Phonetic symbol niigatashikki
Classification of industrial art object Laquer Ware
Main product Tray, box, tatami-room tables, vase, tea set
Main production area Niigata / Niigata-shi, Kamo-shi
The designation date March 17, 2003

Contact information

■local production associations

Niigata-shi Laquer Ware trade association
16-9, Kobarifujiyama, Nishi-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata
TEL: 025-265-2968
FAX: 025-265-3144

■Associated exhibit space, facility


It features various coating such as final coating of lacquer, fine-dots-perforation coat, seaweed-patterned lacquering, lacquer in various colors, bamboo coat and, above all, in the case of the groundwork, bamboo coat makes gnarl of bamboo with rust and is coating not to be seen at other production centers to touch skin and design of bamboo on the top with color lacquer.

While Niigata shikki contains a variety of techniques including Flower lacquering, stone-patterned lacquering, and beach grass lacquering, its technique of bamboo lacquering is the most well known. Using rust to create the bamboo joints on the base material, and then creating the pattern of the bamboo stalk with the lacquer, bamboo lacquering is a technique that can be found nowhere else in Japan.

How to make

We make bare wood to make durable Laquer Ware beautifully after at first drying bare wood enough. Completed bare wood begins with groundwork pickles to do the whole soundly, and lacquer paints many times, and it is repeated by middle coating, final coating and hand of painter.

The first step to creating beautiful lacquerware is to dry the base wood to a durable finish, and then carve out the shape. After the wood is carved, to ensure a durable product, a base lacquer, then middle lacquer and finally top lacquer is applied by different craftsmen, producing a final product with countless individual layers.