nnovation turned out of Tradition

History of Maki-e works and Fujisawa’s Maki-e

Maki-e is a quite unique Japanese traditional lacquered art; that can be mainly applied over the lacquered ware or the Buddhist altar fittings, with following procedure.

In the first place, the base pattern or design is drawn by lacquer, then as next step, the gold or the silver powder is scattered over the base design, and then the lacquer is recoated over. After dried the lacquer, the lacquered items are polished besides if necessary, another decoration work is applied for getting more shining.

Above technique may require more than 10 processes so that even with one basic design, the finished product may become as if they looks totally different works by using different colour or different combination of the colours.

The history of Maki-e is rather old, it was already found in the era of Nara (8th century) and then has been developed more widely in Heian Era (8th century )

Maki-e has attracted many Europeans very much, those who came to Japan during Momoyama Era (16th century) so that a lot of Maki-e articles were brought into Europeand they were appreciated as very luxurious items by many aristocrats such as Marie Antoinette or the Kings and the Lords which decorated the many royal palaces.

The naming of lacquered items was given as “Japan” after its origin country just like the case of “China” which represents ceramic wares.

In the era of Edo (1603-1867) , that was the era of Samurai (worrier), the Maki-e articles were so popularly offered as the precious gifts by Samurai Lord for the ceremony of weddings or they became more elaborateddecorated items used for pill boxes of Samurai or combs for ladies.

There are basically 3 different kind of Maki-e; such as “Flat lacquered Maki-e”, “Migaki Dashi Maki-e” (Polish shining Maki-e), and “Taka-Maki-e”.

In our Fujisawa Maki-e, we are using Johoji lacquer available in Iwate Pref., Japan, that was used for restauration of World Heritage or Japanese National Treasure.

In addition, we are making accessories and other decorative articles by making use of the technologies of Maki-e on top of working for traditional lacquered arts and Buddhist

altar fittings. I am also engaged in holding classroom where the people can enjoy the experience of lacquered art. My challenge will continue not only for keeping such good and traditional technique of Maki-e art but also for developing innovation of Maki-e art.

  • Pendant Top
    “Owl in the forest”
    Ambar with pearl lacquered

  • Hairpin
    “Gold Fish”
    Tortoiseshell with lacquered work

  • Watch for men
    “Dragon” (Takumi Series)
    Dial with lacquered Work

  • Watch for ladies
    “Owls with moon”(Beauty Series)

Permanent Exhibition is available at

IIyama Traditional Art Museum in Nagano
Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo
Torii-ya at Imperial Hotel Arcade, Tokyo


1. News paper article (Shinano Mainichi 12th Jan. 2014)