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Travelers’ Treasures / Urushinuri Magucappu (Lacquered cup)

Lacquerware describes a form of crafted items created by extracting the sap of the lacquer tree (cultivated in Japan, China and Southeast Asia) and painting it onto wooden and cloth surfaces over and over again in multiple layers. During the Edo period (1603-1867), lacquered items including tableware became popular among European royalty and aristocracy and were exported from Japan in enormous quantities; to this day, the name “japanning” is sometimes used in English as the name for this technique and the items it produces.

In modern times, however, lacquerware has become a rarer sight, even in Japan. This product was inspired after an architectural lacquerware artisan who normally works on historical buildings had the idea of “encouraging people to use lacquerware more in their everyday lives.” Created in a comfortable-looking, easy-to-use style, this cup is surprisingly light when lifted.

Coated in layer upon layer of lacquer on a wooden base, the cup comes in two colors — red ocher and dark mahogany — while the inside is coated in a beige-tinted white-lacquer finish. The brilliant luster and subtle intermingling of colors that are special to lacquerware are captivating to the eye. Another unique attraction of lacquerware is the way the feel becomes finer and finer over time with continued use.

Price: ¥9,550 per cup

Manufacturer: Ataka Shikkoten in Sumida Ward, Tokyo (http://sumida-brand.jp/brand/brand_s/brand2014s_001)

To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&dSpeech

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