BOOKS / 出版物

The Book of Urushi

The Book of Urushi

Japanese Lacquerware from a Master

Matsuda Gonroku
Translated by Michael Brase and Komada Makiko
Supervised by Murose Kazumi

Published Titles / Art & Design


Published by JPIC | ISBN 978-4-86658-060-9 (Hardcover) | 256 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2019

About the Book

Urushi, Japanese lacquerware, is perhaps the oldest and most sublime of all the Japanese arts and crafts. Its history goes back more than 7,000 years, and it is still vibrantly alive today. It is practiced by craftsmen working in time-honored techniques and by modern artists forging the future. Valued for its utilitarian durability, urushi developed into an incomparable art, adorning a multitude of objects from luxurious palaces to lavish murals and exquisitely crafted fountain pens. The present book, written more than fifty years ago by the Living National Treasure Matsuda Gonroku, has long been a must-read for collectors, researchers, and laypeople. It is the “bible” of urushi, covering every conceivable aspect of the subject. It includes some fifty full-color illustrations of masterpieces honored by history and masterworks by Matsuda himself.

The present edition has been supervised by Murose Kazumi, a disciple of Matsuda’s and a Living National Treasure in his own right. His foreword enables the reader to acquire a broader understanding of the contents of the book and gain a deeper appreciation of its value and impact on the world of urushi.

About the Author


Matsuda Gonroku (1896-1986) was born in 1896 into a farming family in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, an area endowed with a rich tradition in arts and crafts from premodern times. In February 1955, at the age of fifty- nine, he was designated a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government. In September, he took part in the repair of the National Treasure Chusonji Konjikido (repair complete in 1967). In April 1967, when he was seventy-one, the Ishikawa Prefectural Wajima Lacquer Technology Research and Training Institute opened, which he had so wholeheartedly supported, and he served as a lecturer. When he was ninety, he submitted his flat tea caddy with ivy design to the 3rd Japan Traditional Japanese Lacquer Exhibition. On June 15 of 1986, he passed away from heart failure.








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Original Japanese Version / 原書情報



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