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会津漆器 Aizusikki Aizu Lacquerware

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Aizu lacquerware is a traditional handicraft of Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture. In 1590 (Tensho 17), Gamo Ujisato, a feudal lord of Aizu, invited specialist craftsmen and painters to initiate a lacquerware industry for the region.

Aizu lacquerware really took off after this, with the area becoming the main production center for the growth of urushi lacquer and decoration. In the Edo period, Aizu laquerware was the most prosperous lacquer business in Japan and was exported to China and as far afield as the Netherlands.

By the late Edo period, the area had suffered damage following the Boshin war but later revived to become one of Japan's chief centers of lacquerware production from the mid-Meiji period.

Aizu lacquerware involves several different techniques: 'tetsabu-nuri' (iron-rust coating with rust-brown lacquer); 'kinmushikui-nuri' (gold 'worm-eaten' coating using a process where the wet surface of the vessel is sprinkled with rice chaff); and 'kijiro-nuri' (a lacquer coating that reveals the natural grain of the wooden core vessel).

Aizu lacquerware features all kinds of lucky designs favored by the Japanese. As a traditional craft, Aizu lacquerware has survived for over 400 years.
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