When it comes to Ryukyu lacquerware, Okinawan traditional crafts, come to RYUKYU KAKUMAN LACQUERWARE in Naha


The oldest store in Ryukyu, RYUKYU KAKUMAN LACQUERWARE is a long-established store

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Ryukyu lacqueware has a long history. It is believed to be brought during the 14th to 15th centuries in the Ryukyu Kingdom Era, when trade with China was flourishing.

As a distinguishing feature, lacquerware requires both temperature and humidity in order to season. Okinawa, where an average yearly temperature is 22.4 degree Celsius and average yearly humidity of 77 percent is an ideal environment for lacquerware production.

From unearthed articles of excavation, it appears that lacquerware already existed in the 13th to 14th centuries in Okinawa. The Ryukyu Kingdom was unified in the 15th century. gKaizuri Bugyoshoh was established among the royal government, which managed lacquerware production. gKaizuri Bugyoshoh appears on the record in 1612, but it seems that production of lacquerware was organized prior to the record.

The name gRyukyu Shikki (lacquerware)h was designated in May 1974, when legislation of the traditional arts and crafts industry promotion was enacted, just like Wajima Nuri, Yamanaka Shikki, Tsugaru Nuri, and Kiso Sikki.

In Ryukyu, politics and religion had strong bond. In the ritual and ceremony, lacquerware or comma shaped beads decorated with lacquer were used. The cultural heritage of the king of Ryukyu gSho Familyh includes gNuumeeusuriih which is a set of food containers, footed tray and bottle for liquor.

It is designated as a national treasure and is only used on special occasions, such as ceremonies and Buddhist rituals. Also, these lacquerware have been used at the residence of the royalty, the warrior class and the locality in ceremonies and occasions of bringing gods and men together.

~ In 1609 Ryukyu was invaded and came under the control of Satuma. gTomoemon Hououmon Chinkin Ashitukibon (comma-shaped and phoenix emblem gold lacquer footed tray)h is one of the items that Satuma requisitioned from Ryukyu and contributed to Ieyasu Tokugawa.

͋ Thereafter, diplomatic relations with Japan became essential to Ryukyu. Ryukyu presented lacquerware to the Tokugawa family and the feudal lord family at the change of shogun in the Tokugawa family.

As just described, techniques and styles of lacquerware differ according to the period, since the purpose of the production also varies. During the 16th to 17th century, works of red or green lacquer with delicate gold inlay or red lacquer decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay are most common.

During the 17th to 18th century, works of black lacquer with delicate inlay of green turban shell of red and blue colors became popular.
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