Displayed on the second floor
45

Skills of shitaji-shi artisans

There are two methods used in the shitaji process. One is “shibushitaji” and the other is “honkataji”. The “shibushitaji” method is unique to Echizen lacquerware and is used in the shitaji process of marumono items. The “honkataji” method is used both in the shitaji process of marumono items and in the shitaji process of kakumono items.
Process of shibushitaji
Shibushitaji is the method used for marumono items such as bowls. Kakishibu is prepared by squeezing the crushed and fermented astringent persimmon fruits. A material made by mixing the kakishibu and ji-sumi-ko powder (charcoal powder) is applied on the surface and the surface is smoothened. This applying and smoothening is repeated over and over. With this process, the lacquerware becomes durable. The shibushitaji is carried out after the steps of kokuso, kokuso-kezuri, nuno-kise, nuno-ume and sabi-tsuke where sabi-urushi lacquer which is made by mixing raw lacquer and tono-ko (powder of grinding stone) is applied with a spatula.
Ji-zuke
Brush is dipped in the kakishibu liquid and then in the ji-sumi-ko powder (charcoal powder) to apply the kakishibu liquid and ji-sumi-ko powder on the surface of the bowl. Since the particles of ji-sumi-ko powder are large, a certain thickness can be maintained even after dried.
Sumi-banashi
A bowl is set on the rokuro wheel and is made to spin while being smoothened by using a polishing stone and the kakishibu liquid is being applied. This smoothening and applying is repeated over and over.
Sumi-tsuke
While the bowl is spun on the rokuro wheel, a material made by mixing the kakishibu liquid and soot of burnt pine is applied on its surface with a brush and then, the surface is smoothened evenly with a grinding stone. After the bowl is taken off from the rokuro wheel, the material made by mixing the kakishibu liquid and soot of burnt pine is carefully and evenly applied on the surface.
Iya-togi
Similarly to the step of sumi-banashi, while the bowl is spun on the rokuro wheel, the kakishibu liquid is applied on the surface with a brush and then, the surface is smoothened. This applying and smoothening is repeated over and over. In such way, the base foundation becomes smooth and soft.
Shiage-migaki
While the bowl is spun on the rokuro wheel, it is polished with a bundle of dried tokusa (rough horsetail) grass. The bowl to which applying and smoothening is repeated over and over becomes smooth and durable.
Process of honkataji

Kokuso
If the kiji(wood base) base has damages such as scratches, chipped parts and worm eaten holes, a process called “kokuso” is performed. The material called kokuso urushi lacquer made by mixing adhesive make of rice, wood powder, flour and heads of cattails is used to repair the damages. The scratched/chipped parts are carved out with a chisel or a small knife and filled with the kokuso urushi lacquer to repair the damages.
Kokuso-kezuri
After the kokuso urushi lacquer is dried, the bulged parts are shaved by a kan-na peeler to make the surface be flat. Then, the surface is adjusted by polishing the surface with polishing paper.
Ki-gatame
In order to prevent the kiji(wood base) base from stretching and shrinking, a material made by mixing refined raw lacquer and a small portion of wood powder is lightly applied on the surface with a brush or a spatula.
Nuno-kise
Pieces of linen or cotton cloths are applied to the cracked parts and joining parts and a material made by mixing raw lacquer and adhesive made of rice is applied on the cloths to attached the cloths on the surface. After dried, the parts where the cloths are layered are shaved by a knife to make the surface be flat.
Nuno-ume
To fill the uneven bumps made by the cloths and the mesh of the cloths, a material made by mixing refined raw lacquer, powder of grinding stone and ji-no-ko (coal) powder is applied to the entire surface so as to make the surface be even and then, the material is dried.
Ippen ji-tsuke
A material made by mixing refined raw lacquer, ippen-ji powder and adhesive made of rice is applied to the entire surface and dried. Particles of the ippen-ji powder are relatively large.
Kara-togi
After dried, the surface is smoothened with a polishing stone without using water. In such way, the surface becomes smooth and the next process of lacquer applying can be carried out smoothly and easily.
Nihen ji-tsuke
Similarly to the ippen ji-tsuke, a material made by mixing refined raw lacquer, powder of polishing stone, adhesive made of rice and nihen-ji powder is applied to the entire surface. Particles of the nihen-ji powder are finer than the ippen-ji powder particles. After dried, the kara-togi is performed to make the surface be smooth.
Sanben ji-tsuke
A material made by mixing the sanben-ji powder, refined raw lacquer and powder of polishing stone is applied to the entire surface. Particles of the sanben-ji powder are even more finer than the nihen-ji powder. By performing the ji-tsuke process three times, the lacquerware becomes hard and durable.
Me-suri
The sabi-urushi lacquer which is made by mixing refined raw lacquer and powder of polishing stone is applied to the entire surface to make the surface, which is still rough after the ji-tsuke processes, be smooth and soft.
Ji-togi
After dried, the surface is smoothened by using a polishing stone and water to make the base foundation be smooth so that lacquer can be applied smoothly in the nakanuri process. This is performed while the bowl is spun on the rokuro wheel machine when making a marumono item. If making a kakumono item, this process is performed manually and carefully so that the entire surface will be evenly smoothened.
Here, the foundation process is carried out in the honkataji process and thereafter, the nakanuri process is carried out.
Process of honkataji for marumono items
Process of honkataji for kakumono items