Barcelona Cultura

Maki-e: brushstrokes of an age-old technique

With the screening of the documentary "Murose Kazumi i l'art del Maki-e" (Murose Kazumi and the art of Maki-e), on 21st June  at the Museu del Disseny, we explain what this Japanese artistic discipline involves.

Sprinkled picture”: this is the literal definition of maki-e, considered the most sophisticated lacquer technique. The urushi lacquer, which comes from the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree (which only grows in southern China, Vietnam and Japan), is decorated with delicate and precise designs made by sprinkling gold or silver powder onto the lacquer while it is still wet.

The numerous possibilities of maki-e are almost infinite, and it is a great example of the fusion between technical mastery and aesthetic sophistication. In addition, this discipline allows all kinds of objects to be decorated, not just artistic pieces, and its precision and perfection of the technique has meant its use is focused mainly on small objects: lecterns, tea caddies, inkwells, card cases, pill boxes, etc.

The documentary, that can be seen at the Museu del Disseny, follows Kazumi Murose in his daily life and captures the meticulous process of creating a piece in his workshop. It also shows the conservation and promotion activities that are carried out by the Mejiro Institute of Urushi Conservation alongside their artistic production.

Murose, present at the screening

The master Murose, considered a National Living Treasure by the Japanese Government as a bearer of ancestral knowledge and techniques, will be at the Museu del Disseny during the screening to offer additional explanations about the documentary and answer your questions.

Ajuntament de Barcelona