Lacquer Refinement Bowl and Paddle

  • Edo period
  • 18-19c
  • Wood (with lacquer)
  • H-32.5 D-106
Catalogue Entry

This large bowl is known as a "kurome bachi," or literally, "blackened bowl." When sap is taken from the lac tree, it is left to sit for awhile and then transferred to this type of bowl. Using an accompanying paddle, this bowl full of lacquer would then be placed in the sun and stirred for several hours. This process is called "nayashi kurome" and the process of splashing considerable amounts of water onto the lacquer then makes the lacquer particles all the finer. This process gives lacquer its distinctive glossy shine. Lacquer is a precious commodity, and so the lacquer that would stick to these mixing bowls was carefully scraped away, giving this bowl a lovely natural lacquered finish. The beauty of this bowl has emerged from its long, careful use; such outer beauty reflects the inner spirit of not wasting precious resources.