Yesterday, November 13th is the anniversary day of the Urushi (traditional Japanese lacquer) enacted by Nihon shikkou kyokai. Urushi is one of the most important paints for the traditional Japanese crafts. Why November 13th? The date derives from a legend of Koretaka Shinno. Also, it's said that he invented the rokuro (Japanese potter's wheel) technique and told the kijishi (old Japanese woodworker).
(Horinji Temple: about 30min from our Kyoto headquarters by train)
One day, he went to Horinji Temple, Arashiyama, Kyoto to pray and learned the urushi production and painting from Koku Bosatsu (Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva), then he told them around Japan. November 13th is said that the final day of the pray. That's why, November 13th is set as the day of the Urushi by the organization. It's very interesting story, isn't it?
(Bowl, Chopsticks, and Plate)
In this summer, I went to the national museum of Japanese history in Sakura city, Chiba and saw exhibitions about urushi lacquer. One is about general knowledge of Urushi such as the history, the usage, and the production. Traditional urushi collecting is done by injuring the surface of the tree.
(Urushi Tree Display at National Museum of Japanese History. There are many scars!)
Another exhibition is about musical instruments painted with urushi lacquer. Urushi lacquer is often used with the Japanese musical instruments in Gagaku (Japanese court music) and Nohgaku (music for noh and kyogen drama). Even their case, too! How luxurious!
If you will travel in Japan in the future, how about purchasing lacquer work? There are many famous places for lacquer work in Japan. For example, Aidu-nuri in Fukushima, Wajima-nuri in Ishikawa, and Kishu-nuri in Wakayama are famous. Of course, many souvenirs made of urushi lacquer are available in Kyoto!
I looked into taiko center's inventory but unfortunately cannot find urushi lacquer one... Instead, let me introduce shinobue painted with urushi lacquer.