Lacquer Panels

We are a pair of wooden panels coated in black, Japanese lacquer called urushi. This material is both hard to work with and dangerous if handled incorrectly, but the Japanese know exactly how to use it to create beautiful works such as us. Through a process called makie, thin coats of lacquer are applied, dried, and layered – quite a lot of work!  Our beauty doesn’t stop there. Our surface has been decorated by flowering branches and proud chickens crafted with inlaid Indian elephant ivory and mother-of-pearl. We’ve come a long way from Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912), though you’d never know it,  thanks to our excellent condition. We were made for export to the West and eventually found our way to Mary Hulton Phillips. Now we proudly adorn the Side Gallery Wall in The Maridon Museum.