As the wooden substrates are made from naturally occurring Japanese Cypress and Noto cypress and are lacquered with urushi obtained from the Japanese urushi tree, Wajima-nuri could be called a blessing from the forest.
The Japanese urushi tree (Rhus verniciflua) has been grown throughout Japan since ancient times.
When grooves are cut into the bark of the tree it produces a distinctive sap to seal them.
The process of collecting the tree sap is called urushi-kaki and is performed in a number of stages on each tree. Urushi can be taken from a tree that is 10 to 15 years old and has grown to a height of about 10 meters.
The season for collection is from about June through to October. The characteristics of the urushi will vary according to the time in the season when the urushi is taken, the idiosyncrasies of the tree and the area in which the tree is grown.
About 150g of sap can be collected from one tree .
After the sap has been taken the tree is cut down.
Urushi is an extremely valuable material that is obtained as a result of the labor-intensive techniques of skilled people with many years of experience.
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