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History of lacquer

It was in Jomon period when lacquer was first used. The ancient people used stone tools to carve out wood blocks to form containers. And then, applied lacquer to the containers.
It seems like they also used lacquer as an adhesive to join a stone tool and a piece of wood.
Lacquer is resistant to acid, alkali, alcohol, etc. and ancient lacquerware products of thousands of years ago are discovered today. This is a proof how durable lacquerware products are.
Japanese lacquer which has been inherited since the ancient time plays a major role in our lives being used in familiar places such as in shrines and temples.

How lacquer was used in the ancient time

  • Adhering stone tools and wood piecesLacquer was used as an adhesive to adhere stone tools and wood pieces.
  • Used on containers such as bowls and potsRed lacquer and black lacquer were applied to containers made of woods and clay.
  • Used on hunting tools such as bow and arrowBows and arrows to which red lacquer is applied were used in special occasions such as celebrations.

Lacquer of Torihama kaizuka (Torihama shell mound)


Excavated from Torihama kaizuka (Torihama shell mound),
red lacquer comb
From Torihama kaizuka (ancient shell mound) of Jomon period, a red lacquer comb was discovered. It was made of a hard wood piece of Japanese camellia and the entire surface was coated with red lacquer.
This is an important proof that lacquer was used in Jomon period and the people of Jomon period already had the sophisticate skill of using lacquer.