Large Wakasanuri lacquer tray
Meiji period, 20th century
H: 4/5 inch, W: 19 inch, D: 19 inch
This tray displays the typical mottled orange, gold and black lacquer technique known as Wakasa-nuri.
Wakasa was a provincial lacquer center which developed its own technique.
In Wakasa-nuri, layers of different colored lacquers (predominantly brown, yellow-gold and orange) were applied to a ground deliberately rendered uneven by applying a paste, such as egg white or chalk, or by the addition of small pieces of egg shell, rice chaff, etc.
Very thin gold or silver foil was then pressed so firmly into this “relief” that it fit the uneven surface like a skin. Then a coating of transparent lacquer was applied and, after it had hardened, everything was polished down to form a smooth surface. As a result, a mottled effect was created as the layers of colored lacquer under the gold foil reappeared in places to produce rather unusual patterns.