If you like Maki-e, you will enjoy the art more with better knowledge. For this reason, I have made this informational program which includes the basic knowledge of Maki-e to make you feel more familiar with the art. I have provided standard examples under every category described below and sincerely hope that you will like them.
The Techniques of Maki-e
Shitaji-nuri is base painting done at least twice in order to make a good foundation for Maki-e. It is needed for the next step, Naka-nuri or interim painting, which prepares for Uwa-nuri, or final coatings. They will use Urushi with a bit of oil for Hana-nuri finish, which is natural finish without burnishing, and if they want to finish with Roiro-migaki, the Urushi they used has to be oil free so that they can burnish repeatedly in order to bring out the luster to the best effect. Any Maki-e work needs to start on this Roiro-migaki base. And all methods of Maki-e work have to start with Okime, the transcription of the designs.
Basically, the techniques of Maki-e are categorized by
1. Hira Maki-e.
2. Togidashi Maki-e.
3. Taka Maki-e and then,
4. Shishiai Maki-e.
And these four categories can be divided further by using different materials and techniques and individual skills and tastes as follows:
Hira Maki-e, after Okime, starts with drawing lines of designs, and then paint the surface with Urushi between the lines, called Ji-nuri. Then, place this piece in a Furo, temperature and humidity control cabinet until when the Urushi half dried, the powder is sprinkled onto the surface, called Fun-maki. After the Fun-maki, better Urushi is painted over the surface, called Fun-katame. After this Fun-katame, it will be burnished with powder for grinding and vegetable oil first by fingers and then followed by only grinding powder without water to make the surface lustrous.
Hira Maki-e can have 4 different Hira Maki-e as
(1) Hira-fun Hira Maki-e
The big differences among the different Hira Maki-e are the different sizes of powders they use, and some Hira Maki-e is done with 100% Hira Maki-e methods, while some others would use some Togidashi Maki-e methods in selected places on the Hira Maki-e. Using non-precious metal powders for these methods is mainly for the purpose of mass production selling to super markets. Genuine gold powders also have so many different sizes from the smallest #1 to #20 or more. Among them, the smallest size of powders is called Keshi-fun, which can not be burnished after it was used to paint onto the objects. The Hira-fun used for Hira-fun (or Hirako) Maki-e is just the next size larger than Keshi-fun, and it can be sprinkled with cotton as it is too small to be sprinkled with a tube. Polishing on this type of Hira Maki-e usually is done with three fingers by gentle rubbing.
Standard Samples: Since we never use Hira-fun for Maki-e, we do not have any samples to fit this category. Hira-fun is used for mass products only because it is too thin to be burnished.