Japan, 20th century (c. 1960/70)
H: 2.6 cm (1 inch), L: 35.5 cm (14 inch), D: 32.5 cm (12 4/5 inch)
This stunning Japanese tea tray displays the typical mottled orange, gold and black lacquer technique known as Wakasa-nuri.
The top and sides of the tray are beautifully decorated with wakasa-nuri lacquer. The base is finished with rich black roiro-nuri lacquer, a technique wherein the highest quality black urushi lacquer is applied and polished in several layers.
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. The underlying gold leaf is responsible for the overall brown-gold nashiji-like effect.
Condition is perfect, minor wear.