Wakasa Lacquered Chopsticks
Wakasa lacquered chopsticks are traditional Japanese lacquered wood chopsticks from Obama City, Fukui Prefecture, with a history of about 400 years.
It currently accounts for more than 80% of the national share of domestically produced lacquered chopsticks.They are characterized by their unique three-dimensional patterns created by applying layers of colored lacquer made from seashells and eggshells.
It is sometimes called "jewel lacquering" because the pattern, which represents the ocean floor, has a noble glow.
Wakasa Lacquerware Techniques
Wakasa lacquered chopsticks are characterized by their beautiful design, which is created by applying more than a dozen coats of colorful lacquer while using natural materials such as sea shells, egg shells and plants, and then carefully grinding and polishing the layers of lacquer.
The founder of Wakasa-nuri, who was inspired by the beautiful Wakasa Bay, came up with this technique, which has been passed down to the present day under the generous patronage of the domain lords of the time.
For the wooden base that will become the chopsticks, robust woods such as zelkova, cherry, chestnut, and horse chestnut are used. After a preparation process that involves five or more steps, raw lacquer is applied. Then, by applying patterns using all kinds of natural materials, multiple coats of lacquer, and techniques such as maki-e and Raden (mother-of-pearl inlay), beautiful Wakasa lacquered chopsticks are created.
There are also many chopsticks that have been coated with synthetic paints such as urethane to make them dishwasher-safe and easier to use in daily life, while retaining the traditional techniques of chopstick making.