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OUTSIDE TOKYO

‘Negoro: Efflorescence of Medieval Japanese lacquerware’

Miho Museum

by Marie Omata

Staff Writer

Negoro lacquerware was originally developed at the Neguro-ji Temple in Wakayama Prefecture, where lacquered utensils were used by priests in daily life. It involved covering a layer of black lacquer with another of vermilion, a technique that spread across Japan after the temple’s craftsmen fled the area during Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Siege of Negoro-ji in 1585.

A famous collector of Negoro works was the film director Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), who had reproductions of Muromachi Period (1193-1573) pieces made specially for the banquet scene of his 1957 film “Throne of Blood.” Kurosawa also used his own original Negoro ritual bottle for a climactic scene.

On show is a selection of such lacquerware selected by one of today’s top experts on the craft, Sadamu Kawada; Sept. 1-Dec. 15.

Miho Museum; 0748-82-3411; 300 Momodani, Tashiro, Shigaraki-cho, Koka, Shiga; Ishiyama Station, JR Biwako Line. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ¥1,000. Closed Mon. (except Sept. 16, 23, Oct. 14, Nov. 4), Sept. 17, 24, Oct. 15, Nov. 5. www.miho.or.jp