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​Kamakurabori carving  with japanese urushi lacquered tableware


Kamakura-bori is a traditional technique with a history of 800 years. It has been in its current form since the Meiji era, but it still has a history of more than 150 years. The prototype is a urushi lacquering technique called carved lacquer that emerged during the Song dynasty (Chaina 13th century). It is a technique of applying multiple layers of lacquer on a wooden pattern and engraving it to change the color. This is difficult, so in Japan, a technique was created in which a wooden pattern was carved directly and then lacquered with a japanese urushi. In Kamakura, there have been many Buddhist priests since the days of Unkei and Kaikei (13th century), and Buddhist statues have been made. This technology was put to good use. It was the application of Kamakura-bori that the Buddhist priest found a way to live after the abolition of Buddha in the Meiji era. Kamakura-bori works have begun to permeate the general public.

The Kamakurabori Museum is located on the 3rd floor of the Kamakurabori HQ in Komachi 2-chome, Kamakura City. You can see the history of Kamakura-bori.

Please see the actual production process.

The prototype of Kamakura-bori, carved lacquer and Kamakura-bori

Carved lacquer was born in China and named chousitu, came to Japan in the Kamakura period during the Song dynasty (800 years ago). In Japan, depending on the color of the lacquer, it is also called Tsuishu or Tsuikoku. Carved lacquer means carving lacquer. Lacquer is applied many times (often hundreds of times) to vessels such as trays to create a thick layer of lacquer. It is a technique to carve this hard layer of lacquer along the pattern.


We would like to introduce the charm of this work exhibited by "Carved lacquer", which occupies the mainstream of Chinese lacquer decoration.

Carved lacquer

Flower bun Zhu long neck bottle   Ming Dynasty / Eiraku Year (1403-1424)
The layer of lacquer that has been applied over is thick, and the pattern is carved in three dimensions with a rich sense of volume. The surface has a smooth luster peculiar to lacquer.

(Tokyo National Museum)


Chinese carved lacquer was brought to Japan during the Kamakura period and was prized. In Kamakura-bori, instead of recoating lacquer like carved lacquer, Chinese-style patterns such as flower and bird patterns and bento patterns are carved on the wooden fabric itself, and the texture of carved lacquer is created using the technique of applying lacquer on top of it. It is reproduced.
Kamakura-bori has a unique texture of wood carving. The charm of Kamakura-bori is the soft three-dimensional effect created by the carving sword technique, such as adjusting the depth of carving and changing the angle at which the sword is inserted.

(Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of History)

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