The Denver Art Museum has curated a very specific exhibition that features 30 exquisite objects of Japanese lacquer. Lacquer is the sap of the urushi tree native to Japan, and other Asian countries. Once the sap is processed, it turns into a liquid that becomes a very durable medium once it hardens. Then it’s applied to wood, bamboo, cloth or paper to give it its desired shape – a tea box, tray, plaque, brazier, or screen. The tradition of lacquerware dates back to the 8th century.
The exhibition “All That Glistens: A Century of Japanese Lacquer” focuses on the intricacies of the lacquer-making process, which is fascinating as the toxic sap is potentially poisonous to those who handle it. “All That Glistens” is on view until October 5, 2014.