Past Exhibitions

Makie Lacquers of the Edo Period: Animal Designs
January 30, 2019 - March 10, 2019

The decorative technique of makie makes use of the slow-hardening, sticky nature of lacquer. To create a makie design, the artist paints a picture using a brush dipped in lacquer. Then, before the lacquer has harden, he or she sprinkles powder or flakes of precious metals onto the picture areas. After the lacquer hardens, the design is polished to further accentuate the glimmering metals and the glossy background. Makie utilizes expensive materials, for which reason it was originally accessible only to a limited sector of elite society. From the 1600s on, however, increasing urbanization expanded the consumer base for makie lacquers to include merchants and commoners. Among the lacquers they acquired were those with designs of animals traditionally known for their protective or auspicious symbolism; however, these were depicted in fresh and often intriguing ways exemplifying the spirit of the early modern period. Whether or not you remember this technical and historical background, you will surely enjoy these myriad representations of the animal kingdom in makie-decorated lacquer.

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