Pola Museum of Art - Japanese Lacquer Cosmetic Accessories
Japanese Lacquer Cosmetic Accessories: Predominantly from the Edo Period (17th – late 19th century)
In Japan the use of lacquer, or urushi, stretches back to prehistoric times. A lacquered comb, for example, was excavated from remains of around 4,000 BC in the Jomon period. Since olden times, lacquer has been used to decorate temples and shrines, as well as furnishings for the elite; scenes with such objects were depicted in illustrated handscrolls and similar. Besides its intrinsic beauty as art objects, lacquerware is immensely practical. For example, once it has become solid, lacquer never reverts to its original liquid state. During the Edo period lacquer became a common material as a coating for tableware and other everyday items, the use of which spread among ordinary people. Lacquer was also widely used for everyday cosmetic accessories by the lower classes.
This exhibition introduces makeup accessories and hair ornaments decorated with lacquer, magnificent cosmetic sets as part of bridal trousseaux ordered by daimyo (feudal lords) for their daughters, dressing tables for commoners, as well as ukiyo-e woodblock prints depicting contemporary scenes of makeup.