DECORATION   Depending on the local situation and the history many unique decoration techniques have been developed. Followings are the most representative authentic decoration techniques. The pattern of design is a traditional variation of cherry blossoms. It is important to have proper knowledge of the combination of Japanese traditional designs and decoration techniques, especially when restoring old urushi objects.

metal for makie
Fig. D1   material for makie ; metal grains and powders
Makie is the technique which is presumed to be developed in the Nara  period (710-784) and it is indigenous to Japan. The first documentation on the word makie  originates from the year 774. The 'maki ' of makie  came from a verb 'maku 'meaning 'to sprinkle' and 'e ' meaning 'painting'. Gold and silver metal powder and grains are sprinkled on the urushi and this technique allows drawing fine designs. In some cases the surface is whetted after the urushi has dried. There are different techniques for makie , which are: hira-makie , togidashi-makie , taka-makie , shishiai-togidashi-makie  and some other variations. Metals occurs in different sorts, shapes and sizes: gold with a range of different colours, silver, platinum, tin and alloys of gold and silver. There are round, half-round and flat grains and square or patterned flakes in many different sizes.

hira-makie technique
Fig. D2   hira-makie technique
Fig. D2  Hira-makie  is sprinkling metal powder or grains, sticking them onto the surface, using the adhesive ability of urushi. For sprinkling metal powders puffy raw silk threads are used while for grains a thin bamboo cylinder filter is used. In some cases hira-makie  parts are whetted or polished after drying.

taka-makie technique
Fig. D3   taka-makie  technique
Fig. D3  Taka-makie  is a kind of relief combined with the hira-makie  technique. The base of the relief is made with charcoal powder or e-urushi. 

togidashi-makie technique
Fig. D4  togidashi-makie  technique
Fig. D4  Togidashi-makie  is more or less same as the hira-makie  technique but using bigger metal grains for sprinkling. After the metal grains are fixed properly, the whole surface is covered with urushi. When urushi is solid the surface is whetted flat and smooth, then polished. So the surface of the togidashi-makie  is completely flat.

shishiai-togidashi-makie technique
Fig. D5  shishiai-togidashi-makie  technique
Fig. D5  Shishiai-togidashi-makie  is a combination technique of hira-makie , togidashi-makie  and taka-makie .

material for gilding
Fig. D6   material for gilding; haku  / metal leaves
Fig. D6  Metal leaf is called haku  and it includes gold, white-gold, palladium, platinum, silver, copper, aluminium, tin and alloys of gold and silver. Gold and silver appear in a range of shades and gold leaves can be found in different colours and thicknesses.  Fig. D7  Hakue / gilding  is also a suitable technique for the decoration of the urushi surface. Using the adhesive ability of urushi, the metal leaf is solidly fixed. It resists water, solvents and extreme temperatures. The whole first and second floor of the Rokuon-ji , the 'golden temple' in Kyoto are decorated using this gilding technique.

Chin-kin  is a variation of the gilding technique of which the working process is as following: first patterns are engraved on the urushiware; ki-urushi is then rubbed into the grooves; next, the urushi is wiped off completely; then gold leaf is gilded on the engraved pattern; and finally the remaining gold leaf on the surface is wiped off with a thin rice paper after drying.  The gold leaf will only remain in the engraved lines, since it has adhered to the urushi in the grooves. Chin-kin technique came from China around the 14th century and it influenced the South-east Asian urushi technique in countries like Thailand and Myanmar.

gilding technique
Fig. D7   gilding technique; hakue

material for inlay
Fig. D8   material for inlay; egg shell, metal plates, shells
Fig. D8  Thanks to the strong adhesive ability of urushi, these are able to be fixed and inlayed on urushi surface, not only light material but also thicker and heavier material.

Fig. D9  Raden , this mother-of-pearl inlay is an important technique for the urushi work. It is said that this technique was developed in Japan, but it might as well originate from China. In the Nara  period the raden  technique was accomplished, however, nowadays the raden  technique is most popular among the Korean urushiware. In old times, yakogai , the green turban shell, Lunatica marmorata, which has bluish and reddish luminescent colours, was generally used. Since Momoyama  period (1568-1600) awabi , abalone is used. Since Edo  period (1603-1867) chogai , the pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata martensii, which has a tranquil luminescence, is used. Shells from Mexico and New Zealand are also used. The variation of thickness vary from 0.08 - 0.1 mm (usu-gai ) to 1 - 2 mm (atsu-gai ) depending on the usage.

Raden  which pronunciation is 'laden' or 'laten' in earlier days refers to 'Latin', since Latin missionaries, who came to Japan in the 16th century, ordered many ritual utensils that were decorated with an abundance of mother-of-pearl. This style was considered typically Latin by the Japanese.

Except for above mentioned shells, tortoiseshell taimai  or bekko , horn and ray skin are used as well. Using the same technique on metal plate instead of raden  is called heidatsumon , heidatsu , or hyomon  and the material used is called kanagai  meaning 'metal-shell'. Again the same technique on egg shell is called rankaku-nuri .
inlay technique Fig. D9   inlay technique

material for saishitsu
Fig. D10   material for saishitsu ; pigments and kanshitsu-fun
Fig. D10   Colours on the first three horizontal rows are pigments and on the bottom row are the kanshitsu-fun for saishitsu.

Fig. D11   Saishitsu  or saishitsu-ga  is urushi painting with iro-urushi, coloured urushi. For a long time in the urushi history black, brown, red, yellow and green were the only colours that were used as iro-urushi. Black is the result of a chemical reaction between urushi and iron hydroxide. The other colours are obtained by mixing the urushi with colour pigment. Ferric oxide for brown, cinnabar for red, orpiment for yellow and a mixture of Prussian blue and orpiment for green.
In the middle of the 20th century many pigments for urushi were developed and currently still new colours are full in development. Thanks to these new colour pigments for urushi, kaishitsu-fun  has more variations and they are also used in coloured urushi paint. The material and techniques mentioned in this paragraph are merely a choice from a whole collection.

saishitsu technique
Fig. D11  saishitsu-ga