Keiji Onihira

Box with design in raised makie. “Aurora running in the sky”

  • Lacquerware
  • Presented in 2020
  • H 21.7 x W 26.4 x D 14.5 cm
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"Ama kakeru" means flying up and around high in the sky. In the old times, it also meant god and human spirits flying around in the sky. There is a similar saying among the native Americans that when you see an aurora, you can speak to the dead. I also have a longing for such mysterious light of the aurora, and try to express the light in my work using lacquerware techniques.

On the top of the lid, is the beginning of the aurora spreading radially to the sides of the lid and going downward. I tried to express the light like sunlight shining through a lattice door where the way the light shines changes depending on the angle. I used the embossed gilt lacquer technique on the side of the box to emboss the stripe patterns and express the mysterious aurora as if it were a curtain of light swaying in the sky.

Inside the lid, I made a moon with raden and finished it by shading it off with gold dust. Inside the box, I designed the moonlight shining on the surface of water, the forest lit by the light of the aurora and the aurora reflecting on the surface of the lake. I realized the delight of designing once again by working on this piece.

Exhibited at The 67th Japan Traditional Kogei Exhibition in 2020

Category Lacquerware
Year Presented 2020
Dimensions H 21.7 x W 26.4 x D 14.5 cm
Materials gold-silver alloy, gold, abalone shells, south sea abalone shells (known as tamamushi (jewel beetle) shells), pigments
Exhibition The 67th Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibition
Artist Signature Signature on box and piece
Notes Comes with box

Keiji Onihira

photo Keiji Onihira

I create my artwork with lacquer, gold, powder, mother-of-pearl, using various makie techniques. Many new types of lacquer and pigments are being developed these days. I try to use these new materials and techniques within the traditional artwork, as I believe this will create a new tradition. With traditional lacquerware at the base, I want to try various motifs and themes to produce artwork that create a special little world or atmosphere.