Toxic tree sap becomes shiny lacquer of various colors. Zeb the Duck and mom loved this exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. All of the pieces on display were created during the 1900s. Let’s take a look.
This plaque with a Persian Cat and Bumblebee was created by Itaya Koji during the period 1975-85.
Itaya used lacquer, gold, mother of pearl and wood. In 1942 Yokoyama Ichimu created this Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables.
Yokoyama used black lacquer, two tones of red lacquer with details in gold and shell inlay.
Indigenous to China, India and Tibet, the lacquer tree (Rhu vernicifera) was introduced to Japan thousands of years ago. The toxic sap hardens into a remarkably durable, light weight and versatile substance that can be applied to wood both and basketry. Let’s look at some more.
Next we admired this Tray with Autumn Leaves, created by the Osaka artist, Shimano Sanshu in 1952.
The autumn leaves are of raised lacquer in silver and bright autumn colors. In 1935 Watanabe Shinji created this vase.
After layering orange, red and white lacquer, the carved lacquer technique was used to create an abstract design on its surface. Next we looked at this Folding Screen with an Autumn Scene.
Yasutani Bisei shows plain kimono fabric drying in the autumn breeze. Seasonal flowers and grasses in raised lacquer against neutral ground of tan-colored lacquer created this screen in 1941.
Pure lacquer is clear and amber to reddish brown in color Different pigments can be aded to liquid lacquer to create opaque colors. Red and black are the most traditional colors. Once hardened, lacquer may be polished to give it a mirror like finish. Let’s look at more and see that mirror like finish.
Here we have a pair of Hand Warmers with rabbits and ferns by Suzuki Hyosaku.
Rabbits and ferns are rendered on mirror-black lacquer with raised lacquer and inlaid lead and mother of pearl. The gilt-copper inserts held charcoal to provide warmth. This a Brazier.
This Brazier has bamboo and a poem on it. Suzan Sakasho created this when she was 83 years old. This reddish-brown lacquer brazier was used in the preparation of steeped tea. I, Zeb the Duck, just learned about a Brazier.
Artists can carve into or etch multiple layers of lacquer with designs or add previous metals and other substances–such as powdered gold or silver and inlaid mother of pearl and eggshell, to make surface glisten or to add decorative touches.
Tsuihu Yozei XX created this Plaque with Mount Horai and Cranes in the 1920-1940 period.
The carved lacquer technique was used. First you build a thick substrate of colored lacquer, then carve through the hundreds of layers to create a design in high relif, revealing different colors of lacquer at varying depths. The artist, Tsuihu Yozei XX combined Mount Horai, the mythical island of the immortals and cranes, symbols of good fortune and longevity. We hope you will visit the Denver Art Museum to see this exhibit. Like many exhibits in the Denver Art Museum, we are in awe of the detail work done by the artists. These shiny lacquer works are in a smaller area with many lights. This is wonderful to see, but mom had trouble taking photos. The reflections are everywhere. This exhibit will be on display through September 7, 2016. We have seen it twice. It is beautiful and interesting; we think you would enjoy it also. This would be a good activity for this rainy/snowy weekend in Denver. For more information visit http://www.DenverArtMuseum.org Click on Exhibitions at the top and then current exhibitions. The Denver Art Museum is great.