Urushi is very precious to the Japanese. Antiquity discovered in Japan dated to over 9000 years ago. The use and application technique of this tree sap has reached its height that none other countries can match. It is beyond just a paint or coating material.
Minowa Lacquer (est. 1573)
Based at the beautiful foothill in Echizen, the Minowa family has been producing and refining urushi lacquer and supplying quality material to shrine construction and lacquer craft production since 1573. With over 2000 formulas for all-natural urushi, Minowa is not only a supplier, but also a valuable resource for urushi knowledge to many of us practicing the craft.
We are honored to have received tremendous support from Minowa Lacquer Refinery.
The urushi tree
The Urushi tree grows for about 8-10 years and would be ready for urushi sap tapping. (similar to maple syrup tapping). If scoring and tapping is done strategically, the tree can yield urushi sap for a couple of years before it gets cut down. A 10-year-old tree yields only 200g of urushi sap, quantity equivalent to 1 small milk-bottle.
The Minowa workshop is guarded by this urushi tree for 50 some years, a reminder of the beautiful gift that urushi trees have been providing for people in Japan.
Servicing the population of professional lacquer artist and artisans, Minowa refinery artisans are highly-skilled, playing an important role in continuing the urushi legacy in Echizen, the origin of the craft.