Natural lacquer or Urushi is the purified sap of the Asian lacquer tree, which has been used for thousands of years in Japan to coat objects from crockery to furniture and buildings. When dry, lacquer is both heat and water resistant, therefore providing protection and strength to underlying materials, very often wood, but also bamboo, paper and leather. Lacquerware itself can be referred to as Urushi as well as Shikki (漆器 lit. “urushi vessel”), and with the development of acrylic resin in the last century, objects coated in synthetic lacquers, such as food-safe polyurethane, are considered Urushi/Shikki too. Pure natural Urushi is transparent, while the black and red lacquers most associated with Shikki are achieved with the addition of mineral pigments, over which traditional decorative details such as Maki-e (蒔絵) “sprinkled pictures” or Raden (螺鈿) “shell inlay” can be applied.
|Product||Chataku saucer, brown|
|Dimensions||Ø12cm x 2cm|
|Production||Woodturning (Hikimono 挽き物)|
Each item is handmade and unique, therefore dimensions, weight and colour may vary slightly
The Chataku is a saucer to place underneath Kumidashi teacups and are an essential part of Senchadō: the ceremonial preparation and drinking of Sencha leaf tea, particularly high grade Gyokuro. Traditionally, Chataku made of tin are used within Senchadō as this was the original style that arrived in Japan from China in the 17th century. Wooden Chataku were then produced, and nowadays these saucers are used in formal settings as a show of respect when serving guests.
Before and after use, wipe down the saucer with a soft cloth, slightly dampened and with a mild washing up liquid if necessary. Do not soak and wipe off any spillages as soon as possible to prevent water stains. After cleaning, thoroughly dry with a soft cloth and leave to dry naturally. Urushi lacquers prefer a relatively humid environment and may crack if stored in extremely dry conditions, therefore please use and clean lacquerware occasionally so that they can absorb moisture from the air and a damp cleaning cloth.