In Japan there is a traditional technical art called Urushi, which has a long history of more than 1400 years. It is an art of repeatedly coating woodenware such as trays, boxes, bowls or pots with a natural lacquer, which is the refined sap of an Urushi tree (Rhus verniciflua), a deciduous one of the Urushi family. The lacquer (i.e. the refined sap) itself is called Urushi as well. Finished works have traditionally been called Shikki, which means Urushi ware.
Urushi is hard to be affected by acids or alkalis, dampproof, decayproof and quite adhesive. Among others, the beauty of delicate finishing, along with its unique and elegant gloss, is highly appreciated all over the world.
Since wood is one of the soft materials, it requires some surface processing: reinforcing and aestheticizing. For this purpose coating and polishing must be repeated over and over again. Even now it remains the art of the hands of the skillful craftsmen - it is no wonder the finished products are as expensive as ever.
This situation has contributed to the recent tendency to mass production of new type products, which are finished by simplified processing or are made of synthetic resins with Urushi coats. They surely have reasonable prices, but at the same time have brought new problems - poor durability, lack of elegance, etc.
After various trials, synthetic resins including wood powder were developed at last. These materials have both the warmth of wood and the strength of synthetic resins. Ranked the very best of them is the one made from 55% wood powder and 45% phenol resin. And by finishing those mold goods with Urushi, we've given birth to ideal products of reasonable prices with original merits of Urushi: natural warmth, elegance and durability.
It may well be said that these are the "products" of a happy blending of the traditional culture of Japan and the fantastic sense of Europe.
NOTICE ON COLOURS OF URUSHI PRODUCTS
Urushi is a "living" lacquer, whose dark tone slowly lightens
in course of time.