The contents of this glossary have been compiled through research and experience as well as from published sources as cited in the copyrights/references section of this website. If you encounter any errors in the content, please contact me, and I will do my best to correct it. Proper encoding must be installed and enabled to be able to see the words in Japanese.

Although there is a standardized method of transliterating Japanese words into English, not everyone uses it. Different possible romanizations have been given for each word here whenever possible although there may be more. Please be aware that spaces and hyphens may or may not be encounterd in the same place or at all when encountering these words elsewhere.

Please pardon any missing definitons for entries and inconsistencies in formatting. This glossary is still under development.


Age-nuri • 上げ塗 - Lit. upper painting. The upper layers of lacquer typically in reference to the Tsugaru-nuri techniques. See also: uwa-nuri.

Ai • 藍 - Indigo dye obtained from the Japanese indigo plant, Polygonum tinctorium. The dye was used to color urushi as well as to dye the yellow shioh pigment green. See also: ao-urushi, iro-urushi, pigments, seishitsu

Ai-same • 藍鮫 - Lit. blue shark (stingray). See same-nuri

Aizu-nuri • 会津塗 - The name for lacquerware originating from Aizu, Fukushima prefecture in Japan. Aizu is well known for their hana-nuri finishes as well as their maki-e.

Aji • 味 - Lit. taste. The softened quality that lacquer attains over time, similar in idea to patina on metal. As on metal, sometimes the effect is imitated in lacquer. See also: negoro-nuri

Aka-fun • 赤粉 - Lit. red powder. A mixture of shu (vermilion) and metal powder used in various lacquer techniques.

Akebono-nuri • 曙塗 - Lit. dawn painting. Also bokashi-nuri 暈し塗り. A technique of applying colored lacquer in a smooth transition from one color to another. Although other colors may be used, typically a red-black or red-yellow gradation is used. See also: bokashi

Amani-yu • 亜麻に油 - Lit. Linseed oil. Linseed oil is a drying oil used as a modern replacement for perilla oil for making hana-urushi.

Ao • 青 - The color blue or green. Although there is a separate word for green, midori 緑, when speaking of certain things, lacquer traditionally included, blue and green are combined into one word e.g. ao-zora 青空 (blue sky), aoi yasai 青い野菜 (green vegetables)

Aogai • 青貝 - Lit. blue/green shell. The blue and green iridescent shells from various species of abalone (Haliotis spp.) used typically used in raden as usugai or kenma. It is also frequently sprinkled as on as small fragments or powders in a raden technique called mijingai-nuri. See also: awabi

Aokin-fun • 青金粉 - Lit. blue gold powder. A mixture of gold and silver powders, applied either mixed or in alternation to give a paler, more restrained gold color to maki-e. See also: gin, kin

Ao-urushi • 青漆 - Lit. blue/green lacquer. Also read as seishitsu. A blue or green lacquer traditionally created by mixing ai or shioh died with ai into suki-urushi to create blue or green respectively. In modern formulations, modern synthetic pigments such as phthalocyanine or chromium oxide can be used. See also: iro-urushi

Ao-urushi-nuri • 青漆塗 - Lit. blue lacquer painting. The lacquer technique of applying blue urushi. The technique is essentially the same is roiro-nuri except for the use of colored urushi for the upper layers. See also: budo-nuri

Ara-tsune • 荒常 - Lit. coarse common. The coarsest of the metal powders used for maki-e.

Arami-urushi • 荒味漆 - The unprocessed sap taken straight from the lacquer tree. At this point it is a milky white liquid that cannot be used as lacquer without further processing. The sap is filtered and left to sit for an extended period of time to allow partial oxidation as well as evaporation of some of the water content. Once the liquid reaches the proper water content and oxidization levels, it can be used as lacquer and is then called ki-urushi.

Atsugai • 厚貝 - Lit. thick shell. See raden

Aventurine lacquer - A term once used in Europe to refer to nashiji-nuri; cf. aventurine glass.

Awabi • 鮑 - Lit. abalone. Also written 鰒, 蚫 or アワビ. Also awabi-gai 蚫貝. Scientientific classification Haliotis madaka or Haliotis gigantea, Haliotis spp. The Japanese name for two species of abalone native to the waters of Korea and Japan, whose nacre is frequently used in raden. The nacre from these species of abalone exhibit an attractive iridescense with colors from a wide range of the visible spectrum, with none of the distinctive dark banding distinctive to most other species of abalone. It is used primarily in thin sheets called usugai and kenma. Occasionally the term is used for any and all species of abalone although more often when referring to abalone as a food-source. See also: ao-gai, mijingai-nuri

Awatsubu-nuri • 粟粒塗 - Lit. millet painting. See nanako-nuri


Bake • 刷毛 - Alternate reading for hake when preceeded by a descriptor e.g. urushi-bake.

Beni • 紅 - The Japanese name for carthamin, a red pigment derived from safflower, Carthamus tinctorius. It is also the name for the color crimson. See also: bengara, iro-urushi, pigments, shu

Benigara • 紅がら - See bengara

Bengara • 弁柄 - Also written ベンガア, 紅柄, or 紅殻. Also benigara, 紅がら. A traditional reddish-brown to brownish-violet pigment used with urushi. It is traditionally derived from clay and earth, and the natural form will never be pure in its composition. The main constituent is Iron (III) Oxide, Fe2O3. Also known as: Red Iron Oxide, Red Earth, Mars Red, Hematite, Violet Hematite, Red Iron Ore, PR101, PR101:1, PR102. See also e-urushi, iro-urushi, pigments

Bera • べら - Alternate reading for hera when preceeded by a descriptor e.g. hinoki-bera.

Bokashi • 暈し - Also written ぼかし. A gradation. In reference to colored urushi (bokashi-nuri 暈し塗り), it is the application of urushi in a smooth transition from one color to another. In reference to maki-e (bokashi-maki 暈し蒔き), it is a gradual change in density of the sprinkled powder or the gradation from one type of metal to another, often used to create cloud or mist-like ji-maki. See also: akebono-nuri

Botan-nuri • 牡丹塗 - Lit. peony painting. It is a kawari-nuri technique, similar in application to kara-nuri. The textured layer for this techique is applied with a coarse brush in distinctive strokes that give the finished piece the appearance of the frilled petals of a peony. The technique most often uses a black textured layer, a gold tsuma-nuri and a highly transparent age-nuri. See also: tsugaru-nuri

Budo-nuri • 葡萄塗 - Lit. grape painting. Also romanized budou-nuri. A grape colored lacquer created initially as an accidental result of an attempt at ao-urushi-nuri. See also: iro-urushi, pigments

Buro • 風呂 - Alternate reading for furo when preceeded by a descriptor e.g. urushi-buro.

Byakudan-nuri • 白檀塗 - Lit. sandalwood painting; cf. shitan-nuri. A type of tame-nuri in which metal leaves are applied to the ground before applying layers of suki-urushi. See also: haku-e, kirigane, tame-sukashi-nuri

Byakuro • 白鑞 - A greyish white alloy of tin and lead once used infrequently in maki-e.


Camphor oil - See shono-yu

Cashew lacquer - See kashu

Charcoal - See sumi.

Chibi • 犀皮 - Chinese term. A technique similar to guri but typically with shallower gouges and an alternation of red and yellow lacquer under a black surface. See also: cho-shitsu

Chinese lacquer tree - Also Chinese varnish tree. See Toxicodendron potaninii

Chinkin • 沈金 - Lit. sunken gold. Also chinkin-bori 沈金彫り and sokin 戧金. A decorative technique that involves cutting a design into a lacquered surface, applying a thin layer of urushi into the incisions and applying gold leaf, gold dust, or colored powders into the still tacky urushi to create a contrast with the ground. Also known as chinkoku 沈黒, when involving black filled incisions on a colored ground. The term chinkin-zougan 沈金象嵌 is sometimes used when the incisions are filled with colored urushi and polished flush although the technique can be considered a separate technique known as kinma. See also: cho-shitsu, haku-e

Chiri-ji • 塵地 - Lit. dust ground. Also chirimaki 塵蒔. See heijin

Chiri-maki • 塵蒔き - Lit. dust sprinkling. Also chiri-ji 塵地. See heijin

Chogai • 蝶貝 - Also romanized chougai. Scientific classification Pinctada spp. The shell of various species of pearl oyster frequently used in raden. Traditionally, due to accessibility, only white pearl oysters were used, however, in recent times, the availability of other species has encouraged the use of a wider range of different species including the black-lip pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, south sea pearl oyster, Pinctada maxima and others.

Cho-shitsu • 彫漆 - Lit. carved lacquer. Also romanized chou-shitsu. Lit. carved or engraved lacquer. A technique in which many layers of colored urushi are applied and then carved to reveal the underlying color layers. This technique sometimes requires several dozen up to more than a hundred layers of lacquer, sometimes requiring years to create. Occasionally the term is used to refer any form of carved lacquer. Do not confuse with kamakura-bori which developed in imitation of cho-shitsu. See also: chibi, guri

Chu-gai • 中貝 - Lit. middle shell. Also romanized chuu-gai. See raden

Chu-hana-urushi • 中花漆 - Lit. middle flower lacquer. See hana-urushi

Chu-maki-kin-ji • 中蒔金地 - Lit. middle sprinkled gold ground. Also romanized chuu-maki-kin-ji. Also chu-maki-gin-ji 中蒔銀地 when referring to silver powder. A type of ji-maki with metal sprinkled sparingly. See also: heijin

Chu-maki-nashiji • 中蒔梨子地 - Lit. middle sprinkled pear ground. Also romanized chuu-maki-nashiji. See chu-nashiji

Chu-nashiji • 中梨子地 - Lit. middle pear ground. A type of nashiji using a dense sprinkling of a fine metal powder.

Chu-taka-maki-e • 中高蒔絵 - Lit. middle high sprinkled picture. Taka-maki-e with a shallower relief than usual.

Chu-tsume-nashiji • 中詰梨子地 - Lit. middle filled pear ground. See chu-nashiji

Cinnabar - The natural form of vermilion pigment. See shu


Daitai-bori • 大体彫り - Lit. outline carving. An atsugai-raden technique where the substrate is carved to inlay thick shell pieces. See also: raden

Dakkanshitsu • 脱乾漆 - See dakkatsu-kanshitsu

Dakkatsu-kanshitsu • 脱活乾漆 - Lit. hollow lacquer. Also dakkanshitsu 脱乾漆, dakkatsu-kanshitsu-zou 脱活乾漆像, dakkatsu kanshitsu-zukuri 脱活乾漆造. A form of kanshitsu where cloth is lacquered onto a mold which is subsequently removed. It was a common technique for statues. First, a core of clay was made which was then wrapped in layers of hemp cloth, allowing each layer to harden before the next. The clay core was then removed either by scraping out the core, or by cutting the shell into segments and reassembling. Surface details were molded on with kokuso and a wooden armature (shingi 心木) was inserted to prevent warping or collapsing. See also: kanshitsu, mokushin-kanshitsu

Doro-ji • 泥地 - Lit. mud (clay) ground. The lowest quality method of applying shitaji using a mixture of tonoko and glue without lacquer.

Dry Lacquer - See kanshitsu


Ebonaito • エボナイト - See ebonite.

Ebonite - Also hard rubber and vulcanite. A hard rubber produced by vulcanizing rubber for prolonged periods until it contains about 30%-40% sulfur. It is frequently used for writing instruments intended for lacquering. See also: laconite

Eda-urushi • 枝漆 - Lit. branch lacquer. See ki-urushi

Echizen-bori • 越前彫 - Lit. Echizen carving. See kamakura-bori

E-nashiji • 絵 梨子地 - Lit. picture pear ground. Also written 繪梨子地. A form of nashiji is not used for the background of the image of the maki-e, but as a method of depicting the main elements of the motif.

E-urushi • 絵漆 - Lit. picture lacquer. Also written 繪漆. A mixture of ki-urushi and bengara used mainly for drawing designs for maki-e before sprinkling with metal powder. See also: ikake-urushi, iri-urushi, rose-urushi, takamaki-e urushi, yaki-urushi


Fude • 筆 - Lit. brush. A round brush used for drawing or writing. In reference to urushi, it refers to brushes that are used for drawing or laying the ground for maki-e as opposed to a hake, which are used for laying down flat layers of lacquer. See also: jinuri-fude, maki-e-fude

Fundame • 粉溜 - A ji-maki applied with fine metal powders to a purposefully matte surface resembling metal leaf. It is frequently used in combination with kinji or ginji. Possibly a synonym for ikakeji.

Furo • 風呂 - Lit. bath. See urushi-buro

Fuki-urushi • 拭き漆 - Lit. wiped lacquer. See suri-urushi


Gatame • 固め - Alternate reading for katame when preceeded by a descriptor e.g. kiji-gatame.

Gin-fun • 銀粉 - Lit. silver powder. Silver powder, typically of the finest type. See also: kin-fun, keshifun

Gin-fun-ji • 銀粉地 - Lit. silver powder ground. A ji-maki with densely sprinkled fine silver powder. See also: fundame, ginji, ikakeji

Ginji • 銀地 - Lit. silver ground. A ji-maki where the surface is densely sprinkled onto the lacquer surface, lacquered over then polished carefully to reveal the silver powder. See also: kinji

Gin-kuro • 銀黒 - Lit. silver black. A mixture of silver powder and charcoal powder used for shibuichi-ji.

Gofun • 胡粉 - A white powder containing mostly calcium carbonate produced by burning seashells. It was used both as a pigment and as a material for shitaji. See also: iro-urushi, pigments

Gofun-shitaji • 胡粉下地 - A substitute shitaji or foundatation technique very similar to the traditional chalk and hide glue gesso for oil painting. Gofun is mixed with hide glue and applied as a substitute for the typical shitaji techniques. See also: tonoko, jinoko, shitaji

Guri • 屈輪 - Chinese term. A technique where many layers of urushi are applied in alternating colors, most often black and red, which is then gouged in a U or V shape to show the sequence of layers under the surface. See also: cho-shitsu

Gyobu • 刑部 - Also romanized gyoubu. Although the precise use of the term is ambivalent, it is generally referred to as a technique where large, irregularly shaped pieces (often described as crumbs) of metal or flakes of crumpled foil are applied individually to the surface of lacquer or suspended within transparent lacquer. It is named after Gyobu Taro 刑部太郎, to whom the invention of the technique is attributed.


Habutae-tatake • 羽二重叩 - Lit. habutae (type of silk textile) impression. Lacquerware in which the surface shows the imprint of the silk textile, habutae.

Hake • 刷毛 - Lit. brush. A wide, flat brush used for washes and painting solid areas as opposed to fude, which are used for drawing or writing. See also: botan-bake, urushi-bake,

Hake-me • 刷毛目 - Lit. brush appearance. A type of kawari-nuri showing textured brushstrokes or combed lines. The technique uses a mixture of urushi and albumen, hide glue or gelatin. A particular hake-me with a combed texture was developed by the famed lacquer artist Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 in the 19th century. See also: seigaiha-nuri, nami-nuri

Hake-shita • 刷毛下 - Lit. brush below. Also read as haka-shita. A coarser quality black lacquer used for the under layers of a piece of lacquerware. See also: kuro-urushi, naka-nuri-urushi

Haku-e • 箔絵 - Lit. foil picture. Gilding. A decorative technique in which metal leaves are adhered to the lacquered surface. The leaves may be applied in whole solid sections or in patterns. See also: chinkin, hakushita urushi, heidatsu, kanagai, kirigane

Hakushita urushi • 箔下漆 - Lit. lacquer under foil. Urushi used for adhering metal leaves in the haku-e and chinkin techniques. Frequently, the suri-urushi technique is used for adhering metal leaf.

Haliotis spp. - The scientific classification for the various species of abalone whose shells are frequently used in raden. See also: awabi

Hana-nuri • 花塗 - Lit. flower painting. Also hana-urushi-nuri 花漆塗, and nuritate 塗立. A finishing technique on lacquer where the surface is not polished. Gloss is achieved by using hana-urushi or shuai-urushi. The surface of hananuri is somewhat less glossy than pieces polised with roiro-migaki. Although there are fewer steps involved, finishing a piece of lacquerware with high quality hana-nuri is very difficult because the urushi must be thoroughly filtered to remove every particle and impurity, applied in a completely dust-free environment and applied carefully to reduce the appearance of brushstrokes and bubbles as much as possible.

Hana-urushi • 花漆 - Lit. flower lacquer. Also nuritate-urushi 塗立漆. Black lacquer that has drying oil incorporated so that it dries to a naturally glossy surface. It is used with the hana-nuritechnique. The different grades of hana-urushi include from highest to lowest, Saya-hana, Jo-hana, jo-chu-hana, and chu-hana. See also: chu-hana, amani-yu, perilla oil, shuai urushi

Hana-urushi-nuri • 花漆塗 - Lit. flower lacquer painting. See hana-nuri.

Hard rubber - See ebonite

Hari-bori • 針彫 - Lit needle carving. See hari-gaki

Hari-gaki • 針描 - Lit. needle drawing. Also hari-bori 針彫. A maki-e technique in which fine lines are drawn into a lacquered surface sprinkled with metal powder, prior to curing, with a pointed instrument such as a needle. Hari-gaki is preferred over kakiwari when thinner and more precise lines or details are desired. It is a common technique used with hira-maki-e.

Haritsu-zaiku • 破笠細工 - Lit. Haritsu ware. A style of lacquer developed by the poet, painter and lacquer artist Ogawa Haritsu 小川破笠, also known by his pseudonym, Ritsuo 笠翁. This type of lacquerware is often decorated with inlaid pieces of glazed pottery, peweter lead and carved ivory or is applied in imitation of other materials such as different types of wood.

Hashika-bori • はしか彫 - According to some sources, a type of tsuishu with fine carvings reminiscent of ears of corn. Possibly also another name for guri. See also: cho-shitsu

Hatsugama • 初鎌 - Lit. first scythe. Also hatsu-urushi. See ki-urushi

Hatsu-urushi • 初漆 - Lit. first lacquer. Also hatsugama. See ki-urushi

Haya-urushi • 早漆 - Lit. quick lacquer. A type of urushi used as an adhesive and a primary sealant for the metal leaf in byakudan-nuri.

Heidatsu • 平脱 - Also heidatsumon, 平脱文, hyomon, 平文, or kanagai, 金貝. A decorative technique in which thin sheets of metal are cut into patterns and set into the lacquered surface. The metal is usually lacquered over then revealed again by polishing or scraping. See also: haku-e, kirigane, raden, rankaku-nuri

Heijin • 平塵 - Lit. flat dust. A ji-maki technique in which coarse metal powder or filings are sprinkled over a lacquered surface, lacquered over then revealed by polishing smooth. A light sprinkle is called chiriji and a dense sprinkle is called ikakeji. See also: maki-e, nashiji

Henno-yu • 片脳油 - Lit refined camphor oil. See shono-yu.

Hera • へら - Lit. spatula. Also written 篦. See hinoki-bera and shikake-bera

Hibi-nuri • 罅塗 - Lit. crack painting. A technique used to produce a crackled effect. Prior to curing the top coat of urushi, egg-white is applied, which causes small cracks to appear.

Hifuen • 皮膚炎 - Lit. dermatitis. See urushiol induced contact dermatitis

Hikaritsuki-maki-e • 光附蒔絵 - A simplifed form of taka-maki-e where the powders are sprinkled over the relief without a subsequent layer of urushi or polishing.

Hikimono • 挽物 - Turning on a lathe, typically wood, but also other materials including metal, ebonite and resins.

Hikimono-kiji - 挽物木地 - A wooden substrate made by turning on the lathe. Also refers to lacquerware made with such a substrate. See also: kiji.

Hinoki-bera • 檜べら - Lit cypress spatula. Also written 檜篦. A long, flat, triangular spatula used with urushi made from cypress wood (hinoki 檜) although it can be made with other types of wood. It is used for mixing urushi and for applying shita-ji or other paste-like mixtures of urushi. See also: shikake-bera

Hira-maki-e • 平蒔絵 - Lit. flat sprinkled picture. A maki-e technique in which the motif or patterns are drawn with urushi followed by a sprinkling of fine metal powder. The powder is then sealed in place with a layer of urushi then polished smooth. This technique creates a minimally raised area as opposed to taka-maki-e. See also: taka-maki-e, togidashi maki-e, shisai togidashi maki-e

Hirame-fun • 平目粉 - Lit. flat powder. A type of metal powder used in maki-e, and specifically hirame-ji. It is made by flattenning coarse metal filings into flakes thicker than nashiji-fun. See also: nashiji, ji-maki

Hirame-ji • 平目地 - Lit. flat powder ground. A ji-maki technique in which hirame fun is sprinkled, covered with urushi and revealed through polishing. See also: nashiji, maki-e

Hirame-uchikomi-ji • 平目うちこみ地 - Lit. flat beaten into ground. Ikakeji with additional coarse gold particles dispersed throughout. This technique is used to give large surfaces of gold ground more interest.

Ho-zumi • 朴炭 - Lit. magnolia charcoal. Also romanized hou-zumi or hoh-zumi. A high quality charcoal used for griding and polishing. See individual entries for sumi and togi.

Honkata-ji • 本堅地 - The traditional technique of producing lacquerware prior to decoration. It is the process usually referenced when speaking of high quality lacquerware consisting of over 30 individual steps including, at a minimum, the foundation work (shitaji, 下地), the middle layers (naka-nuri, 中塗り), and the upper layers (uwa-nuri, 上塗り), each containing multiple steps of its own. See also: wajima-nuri

Hyomon • 平文 - Lit. flat motif. See heidatsu


Iji-iji-nuri • いじいじ塗 - Lit. sullen (wrinkled) painting. A technique used to produce a network of light wrinkles on the urushi surface.

Ikakeji • 沃懸地 - Also kindameji 金溜地. See heijin

Ikkan-bari • 一閑張 - Lit. Ikkan sticking. A type of lacquerware with a substrate made from thin cedar-wood pieces lined with paper and coated with shibu.

Inko-nuri • 陰光塗 - Lit. dark luster painting. Also romanized inkou-nuri. A oil paint made to resemble shu-urushi but with no urushi content. It is a type of litharge paint originally made with perilla oil.

Iro-e-togidashi • 色繪研出 - Lit. color picture rub polish. A type of todigashi-maki-e that uses colored lacquer and colored kanshitsu-fun is used in addition to metal powders.

Irogai • 色貝 - Lit. Color Shell. Haliotis rufescens. A species of abalone sometimes used for its shell in the raden technique. See also: awabi, aogai

Iro-maki-e • 色蒔絵 - Lit. colored sprinkled picture. See iroko-maki-e

Iroko-maki-e • 色粉蒔絵 - Lit. colored powder sprinkled picture. A maki-e technique in which colored kanshitsu-fun and pigments are sprinkled in addition to metal powder. See also: iro-e-togidashi

Iro-togidashi • 色研出 - Lit. color rub polish. See iro-e-togidashi

Iro-urushi • 色漆 - Lit. colored lacquer. Urushi colored with pigments or fine kanshitsu-fun. It is used in the saishitsu technique. Traditionally, there was only a small number of pigments that could be used with urushi due to adverse chemical reactions between many pigments and urushi. These colors included bengara (iron oxide red), shioh (orpiment), sho-en (lamp black) and shu (vermillion). However with the advent of synthetic pigment manufacture, many other pigments have been created that are compatible with urushi, increasing the color palatte to include once difficult or impossible colors such as light blue, white, purple as well as more saturated and brighter versions of the traditional colors.

Ishimatsu-nuri • 石松塗 - Lit. Ishimatsu painting. A type of urushi decoration with a checker-board motif.

Ishime-nuri • 石目塗 - Also ishime kanshitsu 石目乾漆 or simply ishime. Not to be confused with the kanshitsu technique. A textured lacquer technique which uses coarse kanshitsu-fun to create a stone like texture.


Japanese Sumac - Another name for the Lacquer tree. See urushi-no-ki

Japanning - A technique developed in Europe as an imitation of true Japanese lacquerware. It most often does not use urushi, but imitates the appearance by using oil paints, shellac, soluble varnish or other materials more readily available in Europe. Japanned objects are typically not as durable as Japanese lacquerware. On occasion, the term is used to refer to genuine Japanese lacquerwork.

Ji • 地 - Lit. ground. (1) A coarse mixture of jinoko, water and urushi used for the first foundation layers in the traditional method of applying urushi. (2) The substrate used as the base for lacquerwork, typically wood. (3) See shitaji

Ji-maki • 地蒔き - Lit. ground sprinkling. A type of maki-e used to make backgrounds for motifs and designs. Various types include heijin, which uses round metal powders or filings, and nashiji and hirame-ji which uses metal flakes.

Jinoko • 地の粉 - Lit. ground powder. A natural earthen clay or powder used as part of the foundation (shitaji, 下地) of urushi, using the jitsuke technique. There are two types of jinoko; a clay based type used by mixing with water into a paste and combining with ki-urushi, and a diotomaceous type used by combining with nori-urushi. See also: shitaji, tonoko

Ji-nuri-fude • 地塗筆 - Lit. ground painting brush. A brush used specifically for applying the ground layers of lacquer. See also: fude, hake, hinoki-bera

Ji-tsuke • 地付け - Lit. ground attaching. (1) A foundation technique (shitaji, 下時) applied in two or three steps beginning with a coarse mixture of jinoko water and ki-urushi, and finishing with a fine mixture of tonoko, water and ki-urushi. The process is akin to applying gesso to a panel as a foundation for paint. (2) The particular foundation technique that uses ji, a mixture of jinoko, water and urushi, usually followed by kiriko tsuke and sabi tsuke. See also: shitaji, gofun shitaji, kiriko tsuke, sabi tsuke

Jo-hana-urushi • 上花漆 - Lit. upper flower. Also romanized jouhana, jyohana, jyouhana. Typically refers to black hana-urushi, but may also refer to high quality transparent nuritate-urushi.

Jo-tame • 上溜 - upper collection. The best quality suki-urushi mixed with a small amount of linseed or perilla oil and shio.


Kaisuri • 貝摺 -

Kakihan • 書判 - Lit. written seal. See kaou

Kakiwari • 描割 - Lit. drawn division. A maki-e technique in which fine lines and other details are intentionally not painted with urushi prior to sprinkling with powder. See also: harigaki

Kamakura-bori • 鎌倉彫り - Lit. Kamakura style carving. A technique that was originally developed in imitation of the cho-shitsu technique, but now is a technique in its own. As opposed to cho-shitsu, patterns are carved in relief directly into the wooden substrate prior to applying a thin layer of urushi. Can be usually distinguished from cho-shitsu by the lack of concentric lines around the slopes of the relief.

Kanagai • 金貝 - Lit. gold shell. Thin metal sheets used for the heidatsu technique. These are not as thin as metal leaf. The name is also sometimes used for the heidatsu technique itself. See also: haku-e

Kanreisha • 寒冷紗 - Lit. lawn (cheesecloth). Loosely woven hemp or cotton cloth used in nunokise reinforce the rims and feet of bowls as well as other parts of a lacquer object that may be fragile or prone to impacts. See: shitanuri

Kane • 金 - Lit. Gold. Gold in various purities is used in various methods and techniques with lacquer especially in the form of powder and filings, foil and leaf.

Kanshitsu • 乾漆 - Lit. dry lacquer. Also kanshitsuzou, 乾漆像, or kanshitsu zukuri, 乾漆造. A substrate made by lacquering cloth over a mold. It was used frequently for statues. There are two types; dakkatsu kanshitsu, 脱活乾漆 and mokushin kanshitsu, 木心乾漆. See respective entries for each. Not to be confused with kanshitsu-fun or ishime-kanshitsu.

Kanshitsu-fun • 乾漆粉 - Lit. dry lacquer powder. A powder or granules made from dried urushi. Fine powder version is frequently used as a pigment or a consistency modifier for urushi in the saishitsu technique. Coarser granules are used frequently in the ishime technique or other textured techniques. Both types can be used for maki-e and specifically the iroko maki-e technique. Do not confuse with the kanshitsu technique. See also: iro-urushi

Kaoh • 花押 - See kaou

Kaou • 花押 - Lit. flower stamp. Also romanized kaoh or kao. Also kakihan 書判. A written signature or "seal" used traditionally in place of an inkan or hanko for certain documents. It is a common practice, although not required or regulated, for a lacquer artist to include a kaou in addition or in place of their signature (mei 名) in a piece. A kaou is usually derived from the characters in their name or something meaningful to them but the resulting shape is usally not a readable ideogram or word. The kaou in older pieces can sometimes be used as a supplement to determine an age of the piece or when the artist lived because, over time, traditions in the shape of the kaou have changed. See also: mei

Kara-nuri • 唐塗り - A Tsugaru-nuri technique that involves applying a textured layer with a perforated spatula called a shikake-bera 仕掛けべら, which is then lacquered over with contrasting colors or layers of metal powder. The entire surface is then polished flat, revealing an intricate pattern of irregular shapes. The technique can be considered a type of kawari-nuri. See also: nanako-nuri, monsha-nuri, shikake monsha-nuri, botan-nuri

Kashu • カシュー - Lit. Cashew. A synthetic lacquer derived from the oil extracted from the shell of the cashew nut. It is widely accepted as the best substitute for genuine urushi. It cures without the aid of a furo and does not cause the rashes that urushi can cause. Kashu is also the brand name of the substance.

Katame • 固め - Lit. hardening. Sometimes pronounced gatame when following a descriptor. A lacquer process used to harden a porous or otherwise soft surface. The substrate is impregnated with diluted ki-urushi. Typically the process is used for wooden substrates, kiji gatame 木地固め, and for the foundation layers, sabi gatame 錆固め.

Kawari-nuri • 変わり塗り - Lit. alternative painting. A generalized term for a variety of techniques aside from some of the standard lacquer techniques. The Tsugaru-nuri range of finishes may be considered kawari-nuri. Although other techniques may also be considered kawari-nuri, most often, it is used to refer to techinques that involve a textured under-layer and layers of contrasting color or material which is all then sanded smooth to reveal intricate patterning. Thelayer of urushi could be cured with seeds or other material embedded in it, which are removed after curing or urushi could be mixed with various substances such as albumen, tofu or gluten to thicken the urushi to retain its shape during curing. See also: nanako-nuri, kara-nuri, monsha-nuri, nishiki-nuri, shikake, botan-nuri

Kebori • 毛彫 - Lit. hand carving. A decorative technique with carved or engraved motifs similar to chinkin, but with more pronounced carving and without the metal power infill.

Keiran-nuri • 鶏卵塗 - Lit. chicken egg painting. See rankaku-nuri.

Kenma - 絹磨 - raden

Kentai • 巻胎 - A substrate made by (check for accuracy) wrapping thin strips of wood or bamboo around a concentric form. Also refers to lacquerware using such a substrate. See also: hikimono kiji

Keshifun • 消粉 - Lit. infinitesimal powder. A type of metal powder used in maki-e. It has the finest particle size of the powders used and cannot be polished. Instead after sprinkling over urushi and curing, it is burnished smooth. It is used in okinie and in keshifun maki-e. See also: hirame fun, nashiji fun,

Keshifun maki-e • 消粉蒔絵 - A type of maki-e that uses keshifun. Patterns are drawn with e-urushi and then sprinkled with the fine powder. After curing the surface is burnished smooth rather than polishing. See also: hira-maki-e, taka-makie,

Kiji gatame • 木地固め - Lit. wood ground hardening. See katame.

Kiji-maki-e • 木地蒔絵 - Lit. wood ground sprinkled picture. Maki-e done on unlacquered, unfinished wood, although it can also refer to the same done on wood lacquered in transparent urushi.

Kijiro urushi • 木地呂漆 - Also suki-urushi 透漆. A translucent urushi made by removing water from ki urushi emulsion using the kurome and nayashi processes. Kijiro urushi dries to a translucent medium brown with a semi-matte surface. See also: nashiji, tamenuri, kijiro-nuri,

Kijomi urushi • きじょうみ漆 - Also romanized kijoumi urushi. Pure Japanese production ki-urushi. Considered the highest quality raw lacquer.

Kimetsuke • 極付 - A technique used with maki-e to depict nodes in tree trucks and brances. The outline of the node is carved into the surface and curved pieces of metal are attached.

Kin • 金 -

Kingindeigwa • 金銀泥ぐぁ - Lit. gold silver paste painting. Lacquer painting using gold or silver powders as a pigment mixed into the lacquer. Should not be confused with maki-e as sprinkling is not involved.

Kin-ji • 金地 -

Kinma • 蒟醤 - A lacquer technique where a motif or pattern is carved or engraved into a black urushi surface, filled with colored urushi then polished smooth. The technique is similar to chinkin-zougan, except typically uses coarser engraving, has no metal powder mixed into the colored urushi, and is filled with only one color in addition to the black base. See also: chinkin

Kintsugi • 金継 - Gold Joints

Kirigane • 切金 - Lit. cut gold. Also read as kirikane. A decorative technique where thin metal foils are cut in patterns and adhered to the lacquer surface. It is used frequently with the taka-maki-e technique. The foils used are thicker than metal leaf, but thinner than kanagai, often created by fusing several layers of metal leaf together. See also: haku-e, heidatsu, kanagai

Kio • 石黄 - See shioh? maybe? check this out

Kio-urushi • 石黄漆 -

Kiriko • 切粉 - Lit. cut powder. A mixture of ji and sabi to create a medium textured foundation material. See also jinoko, sabi

Kiriko-tsuke • 切粉付け - The application of kiriko as part of the foundation layers (shitaji, 下地) of urushi, using the kiriko tsuke technique. It is usually preceded by ji-tsuke and followed by sabi-tsuke. See also: shitaji, tonoko

Kizamu-nuri • 刻塗 - Lit. carved painting. A lacquerware carved in the appearance of wrapped cord.

Ki urushi • 生漆 - Lit. raw lacquer. Also read as nama urushi. Raw urushi after it has been filtered and slightly reduced in water content to make it usable as lacquer. There are different types of ki urushi depending on the origins of the tree as well as the season that the tree was tapped. Hatsugama (also hatsu urushi), collected early summer, has a high water content in the emulsion and has a high adhesive potential. It is used for adhesive mixtures and for suri-urushi. Sakari urushi, collected late summer, is used for processing into kuro urushi and suki urushi. Oso urushi is collected early fall and urame and tome urushi is collected at the end of the season in late fall prior to cutting down the tree. Eda and seshime were traditionally collected from the branches during the winter after the tree was cut down, but in modern times, low quality urushi from China or a mixture of Japanese and Chinese urushi is sold as seshime. See respective entries for each. See arami urushi, kurome, nayashi

Kobo • 工房 - Also romanized koubou.

Koi-nashiji • 濃梨子地 - Lit. dense pear ground. A form of nashiji where the metal powder is so densely sprinkled that none of the ground below is visible.

Kokuso • 木屎 - Lit. wood excrement. Also written 粉糞, 刻苧 or コクソ. Also known as kokuso urushi 木屎漆. A mixture of wood powder, sawdust, or plant fibers with nori urushi or mugi urushi for use as a filler or putty in both the substrate before lacquering and in repair of damaged pieces. It was also used with the kanshitsu technique to model details on the surface of the statue.

Komenori • 米糊 - Lit. rice paste. See nori.

Koroshi-gaki-ho - killing method nurishi article

Koshiki • 漉機 - Lit. filter machine. Also urushi-koshiki 漆漉機. A tool used to filter urushi.

Kuchinashi • 梔 - Jasmine, Gardenia florida, colorant for lacquer

Kuri-iro-fun • 栗色粉 - Lit. chestnut color powder. A mixture of gold, vermillion, and charcoal powders of a chestnut brown color. Used for shading and a bronze effect in maki-e.

Kuri-iro-urushi • 栗色漆 - Lit. chestnut color lacquer. See urumi-urushi.

Kuro chogai • 黒蝶貝 - Also romanized kuro chougai

Kuro-fun • 黒粉 - Lit. black powder. A mixture of charcoal and metal powders used in maki-e. See also: Gin-kuro.

Kuro-maki-e • 黒蒔絵 - Lit. black sprinkled picture. Sometimes not technically maki-e, kuro-lacquer decoration on a kuro-urushi ground.

Kurome • 黒目 - Lit black look.

Kuro-urushi • 黒漆 - Lit. black lacquer. A general term for all types of black lacquer colored by adding iron ions? to transparent lacquer. As opposed to lacquer colored with black pigment, the consistency and hardness after curing is maintained. However, it may fade and discolor faster than pigmented black lacquer in the presence of ultraviolet light. Types of black lacquer include: Roiro-urushi, hana-urushi,, haka-shita.


Laccase -

Laconite -

Lamp black -

Linseed Oil - See amani-yu


Mabe-gai • マベ貝 -

Makiabise • 蒔浴 - Lit. sprinkle pour on. A method of applying metal powder by heaping it outside of the decoration and using a brush to push the powder onto the design.

Maki-bokashi • 蒔暈 - Lit. sprinkled gradation. Another name for bokashi-maki. See bokashi.

Maki-e • 蒔絵 - Lit. sprinkled picture. A decorative lacquer technique that uses powders of various types sprinkled onto wet lacquer to create the designs. The powders used can be metal powders, kanshitsu-fun, or pigment powders. Different types of maki-e include: hira-maki-e, togidashi-maki-e, taka-maki-e, shisai-togidashi-maki-e, and ji-maki.

Maki-e-fude • 蒔絵筆 -

Maki-e-shi • 蒔絵師 - Lit. sprinkled picture master. A lacquer artist specializing in maki-e. See also: nurishi

Maki-hanashi • 蒔放 - Lit. sprinkle untouched. A type of maki-e, where the metal powder is sprinkled but left without polishing.

Manzo-shita-ji • 万造下地 - Also written 萬造下地. Also romanized manzou-shita-ji. Lit. coarse lower ground. A coarse, lower quality form of shita-ji.

Matsukawa-nuri • 松皮塗 - Lit. pine bark painting. Urushi carved to resemble pine bark.

Mekishiko-gai メキシコ貝 -

Migaki-tate • 磨立 - Lit. polish apply. See ikakeji.

Mijingai-nuri • 微塵貝塗 - Lit. fine powder shell painting. A form of raden where fine fragments of mother of pearl are sprinkled on wet lacquer then coveed with suki-urushi. See also: aogai

Mizu-togi • 水研 -

Mokufun • 木粉

Mokume-ji • 木目地 - Lit. wood appearance ground. Also mokuri 木理. A lacquer technique using metal powder or kanshitsu-fun in a way to imitate woodgrain.

Mokuri • 木理 - See mokume-ji

Mokushin kanshitsu • 木心乾漆 - Lit. wood core dry lacquer. Also known as mokushin kanshitsuzou 木心乾漆像, mokushin kanshitsu-zukuri 木心乾漆造. A form of kanshitsu where cloth soaked in lacquer is wrapped around a carved wooden core. Surface details were molded on with kokuso. The core or shingi 心木, could either be a single piece of wood or assembled from several pieces.

Monsha-nuri • 紋紗塗 - Lit. pattern silk painting. A Tsugaru-nuri technique resulting in matte on gloss or gloss on matte black design. How? charcoal powder on design, then lacquered, reveal?

Mugi urushi • 麦漆 -

Mura-nashiji • 斑梨子地 - Lit. uneven pear ground. Nashiji with unevenly applied metal powder. See nashiji.

Muro • 室 - Lit. room. See furo


Nacre - Mother of Pearl. The pearlescent and/or iridescent inner lining of many mullosk shells composed of aragonite microcrystals in a protein matrix. See raden.

Naka-nuri • 中塗 -

Nami-nuri • 波塗 -

Nanako-nuri • ななこ塗り - Lit. fish roe painting. Also written 七子塗り, 魚子塗り, 魚々子塗り, 納子塗り. Also awatsubu-nuri 粟粒塗. A tsugaru-nuri technique which involves creating a textured surface by sprinkling the wet lacquer surface with rapeseeds or hemp seeds to create a pattern of small craters. The surface is then lacquered over with a contrasting color and polished smooth to reveal a pattern of circles reminiscent of fish roe.

Nashiji-nuri • 梨子地塗 - Koi-nashiji, dense, chu-nashiji, finer powder, usu-nashiji, less thickly with fine, mura-nashiji, unevenly, kanoko-nashiji, patches, yasuriko-nashiji, thickly with large metal particles, nashiji-e

Nashiji-urushi • 梨子地漆 - Lacquer used for nashi-ji. It typically becomes paler over time.

Nayashi • なやし -

Negoro-nuri • 根来塗 - Lit. Negoro painting.

New Zealand gai • ニュージーランド貝 -

Nezumi-iro-fun • 鼠色分 - Lit. rat color powder. A grey mixture of silver and charcoal powders with a small amount of vermillion.

Nishiki-nuri • 錦塗 - Lit. brocade painting.

Nori urushi • のり漆 - 糊漆

Nunome-nuri • 布目塗 - Lit. fabric painting. A lacquer technique where fabric is adhered to the ground and lightly lacquered over so that the texture is still visible.


Nuri • 塗 - Lit. painting, layering, coating. A term used to denote a lacquer object or technique as opposed to the lacquer itself, urushi.

Nuri-iro • 塗色 -

Nurimono • 塗物 - Lit. painted thing. A word for lacquerware. See also shikki.

Nurishi • 塗師 -

Nuritate • 塗立 - Lit. painting apply. See hana-nuri.


Okibirame • 置平目 - small square or rectangular metal inlays set into the lacquer ground, lacquered over, then polished.

Okime • 置目 - Lit. set on apply. The method of transferring the outline of a design onto a lacquer surface. The design is drawn onto a thin transparent paper, traced with lacquer on the reverse then pressed onto the object to be decorated.

Orpiment - shioh kioh

Oso-urushi • 遅漆 -

Omugai 鸚鵡貝 - Also romanized oumugai. Nautilus.


Paua -

Perilla Oil -

Pigments - Shioh - gamboge, kuchinashi - jasmine, gardenia florida, shu - cinnabar vermillion, bengara - iron red, Tonotsuchi - lead white, beni, carthamin

Potanin's Lacquer Tree -


Raden • 螺鈿 - trochus turbo halotis nautilus

Rankaku-nuri • 卵殻塗 - The use of eggshells as an inlay material. After removing the inner membrane of the eggshell, it is pressed into mugi-urushi or nori-urushi, crushing it into small pieces with the finger. After curing, the eggshell fragments are layered over with lacquer then polished smooth to reveal the shell fragments again.

Rhus verniciflua - Also Rhus vernicifera. The old scientific classification for the lacquer tree, Toxicodendron vernicifluum. Rhus is the genus name for various species of sumac which was what the lacquer tree was once considered. However, more recently, it was found to have a closer relation to the Toxicodendron species including poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. See urushi no ki

Ro-iro-nuri • 呂色塗 - Lit. wax color painting. polish each layer, hand polish final layers.

Ro-iro-zumi • 呂色炭 -

Ro-iro-urushi • 呂色漆 - highest quality black lacquer without oil added.

Ryukyu Tsuikin • 琉球堆錦 -


Sabi • 錆 - Lit. rust, patina. ground powder....

Sabi-age-taka-maki-e • 錆上高蒔絵 - Taka-maki-e which uses sabi as the method of creating the relief. it usually has a higher relief than other methods.

Sabi-ji • 錆寺 - lacquer to imitate rusted or patinated metals.

Sabi-nuri • 錆塗 - sabi-ji

Sakari urushi

Samegawa-nuri • 鮫皮塗 - shark skin lacquer.

Same-nuri - ai-same, roughly sanded, lacquered then polished.

Saya-hana • 鞘花 - Lit. scabbard flower. grade of hana-urushi.



Seishitsu • 青漆 - See ao-urushi.

Seki-shitsu • 赤漆 - Lit. red lacquer.

Seshime urushi • 石漆 - branch lacquer. (seshimeru, make durable)

Sesshoku hifuen • 接触皮膚炎

Shakudo • 赤銅 - red copper

Shari-nashiji • 舍利梨子地 - nashiji with base metals, tin, bronze,

Shiage • 仕上げ

Shibu • しぶ - Unripe persimmon juice. mixed with some seshime for ground prep.

Shibuichi • 四分一 - Lit. one-fourth. An alloy of silver and copper that can be given a wide range of different patinas used sometimes in maki-e or other lacquer techniques. Traditionally it was 1 part silver to 3 parts copper, hence the name shibuichi or one-fourth.

Shibu-shita-ji - ground preparation using persimmon juice and a bit of lacquer.

Shijimigai - 蜆貝 - Corbicula


Shikake monshanuri

Shikki • 漆器 - Lit. lacquer vessel. The Japanese word for lacquerware.

Shioh 雌黄 - also kioh 石黄 gamboge? check with orpiment see what is what.

Shippi • 漆皮 - similar to kanshitsu, leather. wet stretched leather, over core, dried, lacquered. not common anymore.

Shippo-nuri • 七宝塗 - shippo old characters. seven precious things, different types of decoration divided by wire or lines. ??

Shiro chogai - Also romanized shiro chougai

Shisai-togidashi-maki-e • fattened togidashi.

Shita-ji base lacquer, prevents absorption.



Shono-yu • 樟脳油 - Also romanized shounou-yuu. Lit. camphor oil. Also hennoyu...

Shu • 朱 - Lit. vermillion, cinnabar. Chemical formula HgS, mecury sulfide.

Shunkei nuri - yellowish, transparent lacquer made fromraw lacquer and perillo oil and gamboge. base painted with yellow, gamboge, coated with transparent lacquer. coloring is mixed into the lacquer but same otherwise. yellowish kiji tamenuri, or rag or etc.

Shuronoke-togidashi • 棕櫚の毛研出 - hairy fibers of a palm tree, about half inch in length is sprinkled, lacquered over then polished to reveal them. it appears as a golden pattern of fine lines.

Shu-urushi • 朱漆 - Lit. vermillion lacquer. A red colored lacquer colored with natural cinnabar or synthetic vermillion. It is the traditional red associated with lacquerwork, and the color most often seen in lacquerware aside from black.

Sokin. Soukin aka chinkin.

Suki urushi • 透漆 - Lit. transparent lacquer. nashi-ji, shuai, shunkei, jo-tame.

Sumi • 炭 - Lit. charcoal. Solid charcoal pieces are traditionally used for grinding and polisihng layers of lacquer. Different qualities and varieties of charcoal are made from different species of wood such as magnolia or camphor. Recently, the use of charcoal has been being replace with synthetic whetstones which can be manufactured with better consistency at a lower cost. High quality charcoal for lacquerwork is becoming harder to find and can be exceedingly expensive. Charcoal in small pieces and as a powder has other uses in lacquerwork. See Sumi-ko

Sumi-e togidashi • 墨絵研出 - Decoration applied, charcola powder applied, different shades by mixing silver powder, dry, lacquer over, polish to reveal what appears to be a sumi-e.

Sumiko • 炭粉 - Lit. charcoal powder. Charcoal powder is used for polishing (dozuri), as a filler for taka-maki-e, or for sumiko-shiage as well as several other techniques.

Sumiko-shiage • 炭粉仕上げ - Lit. charcoal powder ??????. A lacquer technique which involves applying a thick paste of charcoal powder and urushi onto the surface resulting in a matte to semi-matte black surface with a fine granular texture. It is typically used for black on black techniques although other techniques such as maki-e can be used with this technique as a base. See also yami-maki



Takemozo nuri • 竹模造塗 - takemozou. Also take-nuri. bamboo imitation.

Tamago-ji rankanku

Tamenuri • 溜塗 - Lit pool painting. A lacquer technique which involves applying transparent urushi (suki-urushi 透漆) or a semi-transparent kuro-urushi over a colored layer. The colored layer, typically vermillion, is visible through the layers of transparent lacquer which frequently becomes more transparent with age and use.

Tatake-nuri • 塗- seeds or others left impressions

Tekishikki • 剔漆器 - carved lacquer general term modern.

tekishitsu same as above

Thitsi - SE Asian lacquer tree, Melanorrhoea usitata



Toishi • 砥石 - Lit. whetstone. Whetstones, typically made of alumina, have been increasingly been used as a substitute for charcoal for the grinding and polishing steps involved in lacquerwork because of the consistent quality that can be found in the synthetic whetstones as well as the expense and difficulty of obtaining high quality charcoal for the purpose. These whetstones are typically of the soft variety which wear away with use and can be easily shaped to fit into tight corners or to evenly polish curved surfaces.

Toishi-ko • 砥石粉 - Lit. whetstone powder. A powder made from ground whetstones, or more recently aluminum oxide, used for dozuri, or initial polishing.

Tome urushi

Tonoko lit grindstone powder.

tonotsuchi - white lead pigment

toushitsu toshitsu, lacquered pottery

Toxicodendron potaninii

Toxicodendron vernicifluum - Formerly Rhus verniciflua. The scientific classification of the lacquer tree from which urushi is produced. See urushi-no-ki

Tsubaki-zumi • 椿炭 - Lit. camellia charcoal. A high quality charcoal used for griding and polishing, especially for maki-e. See individual entries for sumi and togi.

Tsugaru-nuri • 津軽塗 - Lit. Tsugaru painting. A regional form of lacquerwork from Tsugaru, Aomori prefecture in Japan. The technique typcally involves creating a textured surface with kawari-nuri or embedded materials which are then lacquered with a contrasting color or texture then polished smooth to reveal intricate patterns. The basic range of techiques are: kara-nuri, nanako-nuri, monsha-nuri and nishiki-nuri. See individual entries for each.

Tsuikin lit piled up brocade

Tsume-nashiji - thick nashiji

Tsunoko •




Umemono - Zougan?

Ue-nuri • 上塗 - Lit. upper painting. See uwanuri

Urame urushi

Urushi-buro • 漆風呂 - Also simply furo. The cabinet used for curing urushi. Typically it consists of a rot resistant wood chest or cabinet with a humidifier or at a minimum, a bowl with a wet towel. A furo is necessary for curing urushi as urushi requires humidity and warm temperatures to cure properly. Also urushi-muro or simply muro when speaking of a room used for curing larger pieces of urushiware.

Urushi-e • 漆絵 - Lit. lacquer picture. Also written 漆繪.

Urushi kobo • 漆工房 - Also romanized urushi koubou. A studio or workshop dedicated to lacquerwork.

Urushi-muro • 漆室 - See urushi buro.

Urushi-nuri • 漆塗 - Lit. urushi painting. A generalized term for the basic lacquer process as well as some decorative techniques.

Urushiol - In Japanese: urushioru ウルシオール. The oil soulable fraction of the sap present in most of the Toxicodendron species. This compound is the core component of urushi which allows the urushi to cure to its characteristic appearance and physical properties. However the compound also causes the contact dermatitis associated with urushi and othe Toxicodendron species.

Urushiol induced contact dermatitis - In Japanese: urushioru niyoru sesshoku hifuen ウルシオールによる接触皮膚炎. The characteristic rash caused by contact with urushiol, one of core ingredients in urushi. Urushiol is also the same chemical that causes the rashes associated with the other Toxicodendron species including poison ivy, oak and sumac. The rash is an allergic dermatitis caused by a chemical reaction between urushiol and a skin protein which causes an immune response. It is because of this chemical reaction that contact areas must be washed immediately to best prevent a rash. The affliction usually consists of minor to severe itching, hives, eczema and sometimes blisters. Localized dermatitis can result from topical contact while generalized rash and malaise may result from ingestion or prolonged exposure in sensitive individuals. There is currently no comptelely reliable method of preventing urushiol induced contact dermatitis once contact occurs, only ways to treat the effects which include typical topical and oral steroidal and antihistamine medications.

Urushi-no-ki • 漆の木 - Lit. lacquer tree. Scientific classification Toxicodendron vericifluum, formerly Rhus verniciflua. Also lacquer tree, varnish tree, or Japanese sumac. The species of tree native to China, Korea and Japan from which urushi is obtained. Other notable members of the Toxicodendron genus include the poison ivies, poison oaks and poison sumacs, while more distant relatives include the cashew and mango trees of the anacardiaceae family, many of which also have rash inducing components in their sap. Urushi is harvested from the lacquer tree by making a series of cuts in the trunk and branches of the tree following one of two methods, the traditional "living" method (romaji/kanji), and the more modern "killing-scoring" method (koroshi-gaki-ho). See individual entries for each. Both methods involve killing the tree to the roots from which a sapling sprouts developing into a new tree which matures 10 years before the process can be repeated. Approximately 200mL (6.7 fluid ounces) of ki-urushi can be obtained from one tree in one season. See also Toxicodendron potanii, thitsi

Urushi rash - See urushiol induced contact dermatitis

Urushi ya • 漆屋 - A shop that sells lacquer supplies or lacquerware.

Usugai • 薄貝 - Lit. thin shell. See raden

Uwa-nuri • 上塗 - Lit. upper painting. Also pronounced ue-nuri or age-nuri. The upper layers of lacquer in the sequece of traditional lacquerwork following the shitaji and naka-nuri, prior to any decorative work such as maki-e. These layers typically use the highest quality ro-iro-urushi or hana-urushi as it is the visible layer in a piece of lacquerware as well as the outermost surface. When speaking of tsugaru-nuri and the upper layers prior to sanding and polishing, it is referred to as age-nuri 上げ塗..


Vermilion - The synthetic version of the pigment cinnabar. See shu

Varnish Tree - Another name for the lacquer tree. See urushi-no-ki

Vulcanite - Another term for hard rubber. See ebonite


Wajima-nuri • 輪島塗 - Lit. Wajima painting. Wajima-nuri is a regional form of lacquerware developed in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, in Japan. This form of lacquerware is arguably the most famous and highest in quality consisting of durable lacquerwork with many layers decorated in various decorative techniques including maki-e and chinkin as well as others. Jinoko was discovered in the area and the development of the foundation techniques involving its use helped create stronger and more durable lacquerware.

Wakasa-nuri • 若狭塗 - Lit. Wakasa painting. A regional form of lacquerware that is distinctive in its use of a variety of embedded materials and kawari-nuri techniques to create its unique patterns. Embedded materials can include nacre, pine needles and other types of foliage, rice grains, seeds, etc. Once the lacquer has fully cured, the embedded material is removed leaving impressions in the surface of the lacquer which are then filled with contrasting colors of lacquer or metal powder. The irregular surface is sanded down and polished to reveal random patterns then polished. See also: tsugaru-nuri

Warigai • 割貝 - Lit. cracked shell. A raden technique frequently used to cover large, especially curved, areas. Sheets of thin nacre veneer (usugai 薄貝) are adhered to a sheet of paper and intentionally cracked with the fingers, with a mallet, by pressing against a curved surface or by rolling it up. The nacre is then adhered to the surface and the paper is removed. The surface is then lacquered over to fill in any spaces and then polished. See also: raden, rankaku

Whetstone - See toishi.


Yakitsuke • 焼付け - Also yakitsuke-urushi 焼付け漆. The process of curing urushi with high heat instead of humidity used for heat resistant substrates such as metal and ceramics. Urushi is applied to the surface and subjected to temperatures of approximately 150°C to 200°C. The heat may be applied evenly by placing the entire piece in an oven or kiln or it may be heated with a torch as is the case with the metal patina technique nuri-iro. The term is also used for a form of heat gilding.

Yakougai • 夜光貝 - Lit. luminescent shell. Also written ヤコウガイ. Scientific classification Turbo (Lunatica) marmoratus, The Japanese name for a species of snail commonly used for its nacre in raden. The nacre has a gentle iridescence stronger in the blues and greens on a pale greenish or cream colored body color. Unlike pearl oysters or abalones, the shell from this species is not relatively flat and so pieces of usable shell typically are long and thin in shape resulting from the way the nacre is shaved from the shell.

Yakou-maki-e • 夜香蒔絵 - Lit. night jasmine (cestrum nocturnum) sprinkled picture. A lacquer technique which uses black lacquer in subtle relief over a tamenuri or nashiji nuri ground.

Yami-maki • 闇蒔 - Lit. darkness sprinkling. A generic term for lacquer techniques which use a black design or motif in slight relief over a black background. See also: yozakura-nuri

Yasuri-fun • 鑢粉 - Lit. file powder. A metal powder with coarse particles created by grinding metal with a file.

Yasuriko-nashiji • 鑢粉梨子地- Lit. file powder pear ground. A nashiji technique that uses coarse metal filings.

Yoshino-gami • 吉野紙 - A thin but durable paper used a filter to remove particles and dust from uncured urushi as well as to reinforce a substrate prior to lacquering to help prevent cracking. It is sometimes coated with shibu.

Yozakura-nuri • 夜桜塗 - Lit. night cherry blossom painting. A type of lacquerware where a cherry blossom motif is lacquered using a black lacquer reliefover a black ground to create the appearance of of cherry blossoms at night. See also: yami-maki


Zogan-nuri • 象眼塗 - Lit. inlay painting or elephant eye painting. Also written 象嵌塗. Fine metal wires are inlaid into the surface of the lacquer and then lacquered over frequently in various colors. The lacquer layers are then polished away revealing the metal wires, resulting in a final product similar in appearance to cloisonné.

Zogan • 象嵌 - Lit. elephant (likely "figure" simplified from 像) inset. Also written 象眼. Inlay. The technique of inlaying designs made of a different or contrasting material into the surface of another material. Types of zougan used with urushi include raden, rankaku, and heidatsu using nacre, eggshells and metal pieces respectively, Although these all constitute different versions of the zougan technique the term zougan is not commonly used with urushi. However, it is still encountered on some occasions to indicate certain techniques that do not quite fall neatly into the characteristics of one of the other categories or when a material that is not traditionally used with urushi is inlaid into the lacquer surface.

Zumi • 炭 - Alternate reading for sumi when preceeded by a descriptor. e.g. roiro-zumi 呂色炭.