28 November 2009

Object #5 Lacquer Worker's Board

“I devoted long years to learning the order and the configuration of the spots.”
-Jorge Luis Borges
from the short story The God’s Script

This is a Japanese lacquer worker's narrow wood drying board. Lacquer is the refined sap from the urushi tree (Rhus verniciflua) and is related to the sumac tree. Working on a number of similar pieces simultaneously a lacquer worker would apply the viscous liquid lacquer to craft objects which are then placed on these boards as each coat of lacquer is completed. Once the board is full it can be carried to a drying cabinet. While most boards of this type are covered with numerous drips and residual lacquer left from years of use this example has been sprayed with black, hiding all but the foot prints of the last works.