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What is URUSHI?

Just One Coat to Abundance of Luxury. | YAMADA HEIANDO - Japanese Emperor's choice of lacquerware

Just One Coat to Abundance of Luxury.

All of YAMADA HEIANDO's products, from classic set of tableware to modern line of stationery, are finished with a traditional Japanese technique of lacquer coating. The technique applies sap of a specific lacquer tree called URUSHI (Rhus Verniciflua). Just one coat of urushi will add to any surface - be it wood, plastic, or metal - the striking aura of luxury. A strip of gloss on a flawless red surface: lacquerware is the Japanese beauty embodiment.

3.4 Million Years of History: Damage Resistible. | YAMADA HEIANDO - Japanese Emperor's choice of lacquerware

3.4 Million Years of History:
Damage Resistible.

The history of this coating technique goes as far back as 3.4 million years ago, when the lacquer sap was used as an adhesive in Asia during the Stone Age. Even though each tree can only produce approximately 250mls of sap, it is highly resistible to damage, particularly from acid, alkali, water, or abrasions. Such durability, along with surprising lightness in weight, have developed lacquerware suitable for use at dining scenes.

Just One Coat to Abundance of Luxury. | YAMADA HEIANDO - Japanese Emperor's choice of lacquerware

The Art. Japanese Aesthetics.

It was us the Japanese, however, that first recognised the beauty inherent in lacquerware. We refined the coating technique to the level where it became nothing but art. A streak of light shines on a polished, smooth surface, with delicate designs of Japanism in gold and silver. Such story has entitled lacquerware an alias "Japan" when it was introduced into Europe in the 15th and 16th Century through trades with Portugal and Holland.

Typical examples of the exported lacquerware were ones with finishing called MAKI-E. It is a traditional Japanese technique of gilding, to draw three-dimensional pictures and designs on a lacquered surface. Only meticulousness of the finest craftsmen can create this work of art, by portraying classical motifs in lacquer on a pre-coated model and sprinkling gold and silver leaf on top. The craftsmen change the thickness of drawing lacquer in accordance to the overall atmosphere in the picture.

This beauty of Japan has been fascinating people all over the world, including Maria Theresa of the Habsburg dominions. She preferred lacquerware to "everything in the world, all diamonds," with so much passion as to set an entire room full of lacquered luxuries in her Schönbrunn Palace. Her daughter, Marie Antoinette, had exactly the same relish. As soon as she inherited 50 of Maria Theresa's lacquerware collection, Marie Antoinette installed a special room in her Palace of Versailles as well. The collection became the best in Europe, both in quantity and quality.

19th Century saw the third evolution of lacquerware, upon its exhibition at the World Expositions. Strong devotees competed in auctions to have in their possessions lacquered luxuries, or "Japan" as they referred to after respect and admiration for the glorious country of the Far East.

With Our Exclusive

With Our Exclusive
"Certified Traditional Craftsmen."

All of these artistic traits were made possible solely because of then craftsmanship, i.e. elaborate skills and years of experience. Today, such distinguished craftsmen, including ones in YAMADA HEIANDO's ordinary of course, are entitled as "Certified Traditional Craftsmen" from the government. We have been - and will always be - creating innovations with new varieties of lacquerware, representing contemporary lifestyle both in Japan and over the world.