The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures

Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.

Vintage Kamakura-bori Lacquer ware Box

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Lacquer: Pre 1980: Item # 1484141
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Coxcomb decorates the deeply carved surface of this box covered in green and red lacquer outside, gilded with gold inside in the Kamakura-bori carving tradition. It is 22 x 25 x 5 cm and comes enclosed in a period wooden box. Kamakura-bori is a type of lacquer ware made in the area around the ancient capital city of Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture. The tradition is based on carved lacquer wares imported from China during the Kamakura era. However, many Japanese lacquer craftsmen did not adopt the Chinese method of layering lacquer and then carving it; instead, they created Kamakura-bori, a method of carving wood and then coating the already prepared surface with lacquer. Initially, sculptors of Buddhist ritual implements and temple carpenters that were influenced by Chinese art works started to carve items made of Japanese Judas tree or ginkgo and applied a lacquer finish to the pieces in order to mass-produce Buddhist altar fittings resembling carved Chinese lacquer without the extensive drying time. This style came to be known as Kamakura-bori, or literally Kamakura Carving, and the adoption of traditional Japanese patterns made the technique unique to the island nation. Kamakura-bori features chisel markings left intentionally to accentuate patterned areas. Another unique technique is to sprinkle black ink on a vermilion lacquered surface, then polish down the highlights in order for the patterns to stand out from the darkened background. The carving and lacquering techniques of Kamakura-bori have evolved for the past 800 years. Today, production has spread to include everyday goods as well.