In the Japanese repertoire of lacquer techniques, which is by far the most comprehensive of lacquer-producing cultures, there are nine major divisions of technique with many further variations. According to Jahss and Jahss (1972), the nine main divisions are: background techniques; makie; coloured lacquer;
lacquer painting; carving; imbedded lacquer; encrusted lacquer; lacquer imitating or covering other material; transparent lacquer. Nashiji, of which there are twelve or more different types, is the name given to the well-known background technique in which small flakes of gold or silver alloys are dusted over wet lacquer to give a stippled gold Venetian-glass effect. This is similar to the European techniques known as aventurine, named in turn after a type of quartz which contains scales of mica or other sparkling material which the decoration resembles. In makie techniques a design is gradually built up in layers by repeated dustings, sprinklings and rubbing down of powdered gold and silver alloys. In togidashi, the design is built up in gold, covered with black lacquer and is then literally 'brought out by polishing'. In hiramakie, subtle graduated dustings and clear lacquer are used with shading lacquer to give a flat picture. In takamakie, a raised design is built up. There are variations on each of these basic techniques and a further ten or so miscellaneous makie types. Carving techniques include guri in which lacquer is carved back through coloured layers, kamakura-bori in which wood is carved in low relief, covered with black and then with red lacquer and chinkin-bori (literally sunk gold) in which a design is incised and filled with gold or other material. Imbedded lacquer techniques use gold or mother-of-pearl shell stuck on with lacquer and the surrounding area is then built up flush with lacquer around it. The full range of techniques is well described from both a technical and historical perspective by Jahss and Jahss (1972) and von Rague (1967). For further information on Chinese lacquer see Garner (1979).
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