A Tale of Urushi Lacquer and the Appi River
The Appi River flows from Hachimantai City to Ninohe City in Iwate Prefecture. In his book, Kunio Yanagita, the founder of Japanese folklore studies, called the northern part of the former Nanbu domain including its watershed, Oku-Nanbu, and praised the agricultural landscape along with the river. The technique of making vessels from wood, scraping high-quality lacquer, and finishing them into durable and beautiful lacquerware has been handed down from ancient times to the present. The upper reaches of the Appi River are home to wood workers, the middle reaches to lacquer tappers, and the lower reaches to lacquer painters. The lacquerware of each area is loved by people as Appi Lacquerware and Joboji Lacquerware, and has become a world-class treasure as a Japan Heritage.
Thinking about the history that remains in the landscape, visiting forests to learn about techniques, and meeting craftsmen to encounter their passion—we will take you on a deep and beautiful journey of lacquer, following the stories of the past and present.
Photo by Atushi Okuyama
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