International exchange and Japanese lacquerware
Japanese lacquerware started to become well known around the world in the later half of 16th century, in Momoyama and Edo periods.
In the later half of 16th century, Europeans started to come to Japan from the Netherlands and Portugal and they were astonished by the highly sophisticated beauty of Japanese crafts decorated with maki-e(design drawing) technique.
Through international trading, Japanese lacquerware was introduced to Europe and the lacquerware products called Nanban Shikki lacuqerware were manufactured to be sent to European countries. Japanese lacquerware became further known to the world when it was introduced at the World Exposition. At the end of Edo period, Japanese lacquerware was displayed at the World Exposition representing Japanese culture and it was highly praised.
Thereafter, in order to introduce Japan to the word, the Meiji government promoted the maki-e(design drawing) lacquerware products as the major items to be exported.
Having such long history, today, Japanese lacquerware can be seen at museums and art galleries around the world. And gradually, lacquerware started to be called “Japan” around the world.
- World Exposition in London, the Great Britain The first World Exposition was held in London in 1851. In 1862, the World Exposition was held in London for the second time. At this World Exposition, a British man named Alcock presented an exhibition on Japanese collection including Japanese lacquerware products and introduced the lacquerware to the European people.
- World Exposition in Parris, France At the end of Edo period, this was the first time Japan participated in the World Exposition as a country and presented an exhibition. Here, Japanese lacquerware was also highly praised by the European people.
- World Exposition in Vienna, Austria This was the first time Japan participated in the World Exposition under Meiji government. In order to introduce Japan to the world, many Japanese traditional craft items were displayed and they were purchased by museums around the world.
- United States of America and Germany In 1984, Echizen lacquerware products were first displayed at the International Trade Fair held in Frankfurt, Germany. Later, Echizen lacquerware products were also displayed at the International Trade Fairs held in the cities such as New York and San Francisco in the United States to actively seek their sales routes out to the world.
- 400-year Anniversary of Japan-Dutch Friendship, the Netherlands To celebrate 400-year of friendship between Japan and the Netherlands, an exhibition on Japanese lacquerware was held in the Netherlands. Echizen lacquerware items were also introduced and deepened cultural exchange between the two countries.