The Art of Carved Lacquer

This work utilizes the "choshitsu" technique, the most time and effort-consuming oriental lacquer technique since ancient times, in which dozens of color coatings are applied over a bare surface, which is then precisely carved. It was originally a Chinese technique, developed in Japan in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) as karamono lacquerware. It was much valued as a kind of Buddhist ritual utensil and tea ceremony tool.
The vision of the work reveals the “saihi” pattern” originated from China during the Song dynasty (960-1279); the carving is comparatively shallow but delicate. Similar works are extremely rare in China nowadays so the very few dozen in Japan are exceptionally valuable indeed. The creator of the work has been studying the few remaining pieces, visualizing the discernible skills of ancient artists. The work was also born from his long years of engagement in the restoration of cultural properties indeed. It was carved with alternating coats of shu-urushi (red lacquer) and suki-urushi (clear lacquer) with a unique design. The body is covered with a lid, and it is divided into chambers by "kakego". The delicate process of carving and lacquering also reveals his advanced skills, creation desires, and aspirations.


Bridging Generations: From Living National Treasure to Modern Mastery
Tatsuya Matsumoto

A lacquerware artist specializing in carved lacquer.
He trained under Kodo Otomaru (1898–1997), a native of Kagawa Prefecture who was nationally designated as a Holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (so-called Living National Treasure) due to his achievement in carved lacquer.
He expresses the original design/pattern expressions of carved lacquer as the beauty of form instead of the beauty of use. Rescuing Japanese cultural assets inside and outside Japan, he has been restoring lacquerware valued as cultural assets. He has created a number of works featuring a wide range of designs including realistic expression such as botanical designs, abstract expression using geometric patterns, and expression using saihi designs (guri (curvilinear patterns) carved on layered urushi lacquer coatings of different colors).

Art Style

Crafting Beauty from Nature's Resilience
Lacquer Art

Lacquer art refers to the techniques for creating works by coating objects with natural lacquer and then drawing designs/patterns on the surface. A drop of sap from the lacquer tree is the basic material of lacquerware. Lacquer trees, which grow only in Southeast Asia, provide a wonderful coating agent. As lacquer creates a decay-free film and repels water when it solidifies, it has been used for daily life tools since ancient times. Leveraging the characteristics of lacquer for exquisitely decorating items with gold, silver, and seashells, red lacquer and black lacquer have been used for musical instruments and boxes for storing important documents and clothing, as well as the helmets, armors, and weapons of samurai warriors. Today, splendid lacquerware works are being created including tea ceremony tools (e.g., tea containers called natsume, incense burners) and decorative boxes, in addition to bowls, trays and other daily life items. With 500 years of history, Japanese lacquerware can be found around the world.
Creating unique works, Tatsuya Matsumoto has been pursuing expressions using saihi.









「Water sky #1」の作品に使われている「Kenyu bleu」とは何ですか?

「Kenyu bleu」は、作者が幼少期に鎌倉の海と空、山の緑からインスピレーションを受けて作り出した、独自の青色です。