The art and craft of antique Japanese lacquerware

Lotus Arts de Vivre shares about the allure of the ancient Asian craft

Listening to Rolf Von Bueren, the founder of Lotus Arts de Vivre, a leading provider of luxury crafts, decorative items and jewelry in Thailand, talked about the Japanese people and old goods reminded me of an article I read long time ago that the culture of not buying or selling used goods has been deeply ingrained in Japan for a long while. Why so? The assumptions vary. Some said that after the defeat in the second world war, this new mentality emerged: the new mentality to use only new things to look modern and equal. Another assumption that sounds more rational is that the Japanese people took their private lives very seriously. Being invited to a Japanese home is a high honor. This applies to private everyday objects that shouldn’t be handed over to someone you don’t know. And they don’t want to deal with people they don’t know as well.

“This is why you need to have someone who knows the culture and speak Japanese with you,” Rolf said about his long-time quest for the finest Japanese lacquer works in Japan. In Japan, lacquer art is an ancient craft. Once integrated into everyday objects of the affluent, these precious treasures are very hard to find and to buy for foreigners. Rolf who travelled to Japan for many times knows this well. “My work lifestyle took me to Japan a number of times. It allowed me to witness Japanese equipment, tools, and accessories mostly made from wood with beautiful lacquer art technique. In the past, this lacquer art was widely used among ruling class people. It was the symbol of power.

I am very obsessed with this kind of art as it is Asian knowledge which creates beautiful equipment, tools, and home accessories from wood, bamboo, and paper that are long lasting with water and heat resistance as well as very easy to clean. The technique is the use of rubber from Urushi Tree lacquering the item in several layers. The shine and color changes following the type of usages of the owner but the longer they are used the more beautiful they get as the lacquer changes according to the environment, temperature, weather, and any substances touching the items. As a result, lacquer art items also illustrate the identity of the owner”. 

As the founder and the one at the helm of Lotus Arts de Vivre, Rolf used to spend most of his time travelling to source for precious crafts, collecting them and turning them into inspirations for his creations. He started exploring lacquer art items for more than 10 years. This type of art originated in China thousands of years ago before expanding to Japan as well as the northern part of Thailand which is called “Lanna Lacquer Art”. Despite its origin in China, Japanese and Northern Thai lacquer art contains different techniques and uniqueness. To celebrate the beauty of this ancient art, Lotus Arts de Vivre created a special collection and exhibition under the name ‘Eastern Curiosities’ to showcase antique lacquerware (70-250 years old) and other creations of the brand like jewelry and decorative items inspired by this high craft. Some items are for viewing only, but some are for sale as well.

For more information visit Lotusartsdevivre.com

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