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Japanese Art

Japanese Art



Ippodo Gallery

New York location

32 East 67th Street
3rd Floor
New York 10065

T (212) 967 4899

Innovation in Form: Lacquerware by Jihei Murase

September 8-October 12, 2022
Opening reception with artist and tea ceremony, September 8, 5-8pm

Representative of the country’s prestigious craftsmanship, urushi (“lacquer”) has become synonymous with “Japan.” Artist Jihei Murase stands at the forefront of Japanese lacquer craft; Murase’s artistic practice is informed by an encounter with the sculpture of Brancusi during his college days. His exceptional technique adeptly balances between functional and aesthetic beauty.

Jihei Murase III’s grandfather, Jihei I, who himself made ceramic tea wares, was a collaborator and friend to distinguished artist Rosanjin and cultural scholar Fujio Koyama. Surrounded by leading figures in Japanese culture and the tea ceremony during his formative years, the lacquer artist developed a familiarity with the ceremonial rituals. Equipped with inherited knowledge of both woodworking techniques and ceremonial decorum, Murase produces tea utensils and functional objects that become more vibrant and alive with every use.

Murase’s innovations have expanded the category of lacquerware both technically and aesthetically. Using modern gadgets including the lathe and hand-forged wrought iron tools, the artist realizes impressive shapes, each with a unique expression. Murase’s vision relies on technical mastery using a variety of techniques: machete cutting, hatsuri (“scalloping”), shinogi (“ridging”), and iron oxidization to build layers of rust. His finishes are not only vermillion or black, but also blue, silver, white, and more.