A splendid antique cut glass cup selected and decorated by contemporary female lacquer artist Arai Etsuko enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled Glass Maki-e Hai, Yoake (Glass Sake Cup named Breaking Dawn). She said that when she first saw the glass in a street market, she instantly envisioned how the engraved patterns could be accentuated by colors and powdered precious metals. Here an interesting comparison of techniques is possible. The bowl is decorated outside, first with layers of color, then powdered gold applied over top. The rim is covered in dark blue lacquer sprinkled with gold, with red and blue diamonds alternating with clear glass connected to the stem by strands of gold. The base on the other hand, has been decorated in the opposite order, with powdered gold first, then a red sunrise in the center overtop of which is applied the colored lacquer. Allowing the pattern to be visible through the glass, but not from the decorated underside. It is 10.5 cm (4 inches) tall and in excellent condition, directly from the artist this year.
Arai Etsuko (born in Kanagawa in 1980) apprenticed under Hiroshi Okada after Graduating the Kyoto School of Traditional Arts in 2003. For seven years she learned the arts of maki-e and kanshitsu, nunobari and inlay, working both on new pieces, as well as in the restoration of antique items, giving her a deep understanding of the various processes of lacquer over the centuries. In 2010 she moved out on her own. Her work is characterized by the exquisite mixture of traditional lacquer ware manufacturing methods and the delicate and gentle style unique to a woman. Her work has been exhibited at various venues throughout Japan, including the Asahi Craft exhibition and Kyoten. She was designated a Traditional Craftsperson (Dento Kogeishi) of Kyoto in 2014, Nationally in 2015. In a recent conversation she said she was drawn to the world of Lacquer by its glitter and sheen. Unlike drawing or pottery, the creation of lacquer art has no immediate sense of gratification, the imagery is brought out through layers over weeks or months, often invisible until the final stages. A most demanding medium, patience and diligence are paramount, but the result is unlike any other artform, and with proper care, can be passed through the generations, an heirloom to span the centuries.