4 Best Japanese Shikki Lacquerware Brands
Shikki (漆器) or lacquerware is widely found in East and South-East Asia, including Japan, China, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Among them, Japanese lacquerware and Chinese lacquerware are especially world-famous.
While the latter was called China, the former was called Japan in Europe, where these two things started to be imported in the late 16th century.
Japanese lacquerware is a craft made of wood available in many forms ranging from luxury goods to tableware used in everyday life.
The lacquered ones are superior to non-lacquered wooden crafts in various respects, but there are several cautions when using them, as listed below.
- Japanese lacquerware is a reliable product made only with natural materials.
- It outlasts non-lacquered wooden wares.
- It has an antibacterial effect.
- It is stain-resistant. So the maintenance is easy.
- It is mothproof.
- The longer you use it, the better polish it takes on.
- It’s not good to use it with microwave ovens, dishwashers, or dryers.
- Refrain from putting it in the fridge for a long time.
- Refrain from rubbing it with a hard sponge.
- Don’t expose it to sunlight. It is weak to ultraviolet.
- Don’t soak it in water for a long time.
Japan’s 4 Best Shikki Brands
As you can see in the photo, many regions of Japan produce Shikki or lacquerware.
The red marks show Aizu lacquerware, Yamanaka lacquerware, Echizen lacquerware, and Kishu lacquerware.
And they are generally known as Japan’s 4 Best Shikki Brands.
Aizu Lacquerware (会津漆器)
Aizu lacquerware is a traditional craft made in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture, whose origin dates back to the late 16th century.
It utilizes a variety of techniques, including Raden (螺鈿), Makie (蒔絵), Urushie (漆絵), Kanshitsu (乾漆), and Hananuri (花塗り).
And many of those (ex. Makie gold lacquer, Raden mother-of-pearl, and Urushie lacquer painting) are applied on the surface.
Yamanaka Lacquerware (山中漆器)
With more than 400 years of history, Yamanaka lacquerware is a traditional craft from Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture.
The techniques that characterize this woodenware are Kashokubiki (加飾挽き), Usubiki (薄挽き), and Taka Makie (高蒔絵).
Kashokubiki is a technique of making elaborate decorations on the surface. Usubiki is a technique of thinly sawing wood, and Taka Makie is embossed gold lacquer.
Echizen Lacquerware (越前漆器)
Echizen lacquerware is a traditional craft that Sabae City in Fukui Prefecture boasts, whose origin dates back to the 6th century.
An emperor at the time was deeply impressed by the beauty of the woodenware and recommended it.
This lacquerware has a classical elegance featuring excellent durability. The one made of white wood is known as Kawada-Nuri (河和田塗).
Kishu Lacquerware (紀州漆器)
Kishu lacquerware is a traditional craft handed down from generation to generation in Kainan City, Wakayama Prefecture, whose origin dates back to the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573).
Later, in the Edo period (1603 to 1868), it was developed under the patronage of the shogunate family Tokugawa (徳川).
This woodenware generally has a simple stout design, and you can use it light-heartedly.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 漆器 )