In the manufacture of Japanese lacquer there are three processes.
As a lacquer painter he left a strong mark upon the work of his contemporaries and successors.
From mining the clay to make the lead, to the lacquer applied to the pencil, to the rubber eraser, to the metal band holding the eraser to the yellow paint, no one person knows how to make a complete pencil.
The latterfor which the generic term in Japan is mushi or kaichinclude some beautiful species, from the jewel beetle (tama-mushi), the gold beetle (kogane-mushi) and the Chrysochroa fulgidissima, which glow and sparkle with the brilliancy of gold and precious stones, to the jet black Melanauster chinensis, which- seems to have been fashioned out of lacquer spotted with white.
The lacquer ware of Nyaung-u and other villages near Pagan is noted throughout Burma.
This new departure reached its climax in the Tokugawa mausolea of Yedo and NikkO, which are enriched by the possession of the most splendid applications of lacquer decoration the world has ever seen, nor is it likely that anything of comparable beauty and grandeur will be again produced in the same line.
Thus if a lacquer box in the form of a parallelogram is the object, Japanese artists will not divide it in two equal parts by a perpendicular line, but by a diagonal, as offering a more pleasing line and division.
Kenzan, adopted his style, and left a reputation as a decorator of pottery hardly less brilliant than Krins in that of lacquer; and a later follower, HOitsu (1762-1828), greatly excelled the master in delicacy and refinement, although inferior to him in vigour and invention.
The books illustrated by the men of this school were mainly collections of useful information, guide-books, romances and historical and religious compilations; but much of the best of their work is to be found in the collections of pictorial designs, very often taken from Chinese sources, which were produced for the use of workers in lacquer, pottery and similar crafts.
Sometimes painting is introduced into these panels and lacquer and metal clasps are added to the ribs.
Lacquer.Japan derived the art of lacquering from China (probably about the beginning of the 6th century), but she ultimately carried it far beyond Chinese conception.
In the beginning of the 19th century worked ShOkwasai, who frequently collaborated with the metal-worker Shibayama, encrusting his lacquer with small decorations in metal by the latter.
No important new developments have taken place during modern times in Japans lacquer manufacture.
Lacquer-making, however, being essentially an art and not a mere handicraft, has its eras of great masters and its seasons of inferior execution.
He excels in his representations of landscapes and waterscapes, and has succeeded -in transferring to gold-lacquer panels tender and delicate pictures of natures softest moodspictures that show balance, richness, harmony and a fine sense of decorative proportion.
The togi-dashi design, when finely executed, seems to hang suspended in the velvety lacquer or to float under its silky surface.
They were often Vehkles constructed of rich lacquer; the curtains suspended in front were of the finest bamboo workmanship, with thick cords and tassels of plaited silk, and the draught animal, an ox of handsome proportions, was brilliantly caparisoned.
The magnificent sheen and richness of the pure kin-makie (gold lacquer) are wanting, but in their place we have inimitable tenderness and delicacy.
Cabinets, fire-screens, plaques and boxes resplendent with gold lacquer grounds carrying elaborate and profuse decoration of ivory and mother-of-pearl are not objects that appeal to Japanese taste.
If parts of the design are to be in relief, they are built up with a putty of black lacquer, white lead, camphor and lamp-black.
The well-known products, styled articles de Paris, prison-made, find a large sale, and many objects of high art, fine paintings, cloisonné enamels and gold lacquer are among the beautiful products from Japanese prisoners.
His lacquer-ware is distinguished for a bold and at times almost eccentric impressionism, and his use of inlay is strongly characteristic. RitsuO (1663-1747), a pupil and contemporary of KOrin, and like him a potter and painter also, was another lacquerer of great skill.
The employment of mother-of-pearl to, ornament lacquer grounds dates from a period as remote as the 8th century, but its use as a material for constructing decorative designs began in the 17th century, and was due to an expert called Shibayama, whose descendant, Shibayama SOichi, has in recent years been associated with the same work in TOkyO.
In the days of the great dilettante Yoshimasa (1449-1490), lacquer experts devised a new style, laka-makie, or decoration in relief, which immensely augmented the beauty of the ware, and constituted a feature altogether special to Japan.
This and lacquer-ware are the chief exports, as also a considerable amount of pottery.
This he sketches in outline with a paste of white lead, and then, having filled in the details with gold and colors, he superposes a coat of translucid lacquer, which is finally subjected to careful polishing.