The Shiruwan Set comes in a box and is often given to couples to celebrate a special occasion.
These bowls are made by Kinsai which was founded in Yamanaka in 1905 and it has been operating for over 3 generations. Kinsai are said to be at the pinnacle of lacquerware production in Japan. They aim to create high quality pieces, that are made to be used for a long time. Their finishes are made to improve with age, the more you use it, the more depth the patina acquires. The literal translation appropriate: ‘it grows in the users hand’.
Kinsai create the Shiruwan from Maple and turn it in a way that gestures carved wood, it requires great skills to achieve the final texture. The Shiruwan has multiple layers of Urushi (red over black or black over red), giving the surface movement and variation.
Made for Miso and other accompanying soup dishes.
Asuka and I were gifted a set of Shiruwan over 10 years ago and have been using these bowls almost daily in our home for a decade. They remain two of our favourite pieces.
Urushi Lacquer can infrequently cause skin irritation for some people. If you notice abnormalities, cease using the product and consult a doctor.
Do not use with direct flame, microwave, dishwasher or scourer.
Wash by hand with natural detergents. Do not expose to harsh chemicals which may affect the surface. And like with all wooden products, dry with a tea towel after washing. Do not leave to drip dry.
The collective makers of Nurimon Akinai are located in Yamanaka, Kaga in the Ishikawa prefecture. Yamanaka is a hot spring area which has been producing lacquerware for about 400 years. The Yamanakaurushi ware is said to be the highest quality lacquerware in Japan.
Yamanaka is particularly renowned for the wood turning part of the process. Although it is common in other areas to turn the wood across the grain as it is more economical, tradition in Yamanaka is to turn the bowls with the grain. This is a more difficult and time consuming way to work on the lathe and requires greater skill. But as the wood is stronger this way, it allows the maker to turn fine, thin bowls with delicate designs. Additionally, turning with the grain means the final bowl will sit on the table in the same way as the tree grew. This makes the bowl stronger and less prone to warping and cracking over time.
To finish the bowls they employ a technique called Fukiurushi. A process of saturating the wood with Urushi lacquer and then wiping off the excess, drying the bowl and then polising it. The process is repeated several times before completion. Fukiurushi is the traditional technique of Yamanaka ware. Because of the repeated process, the Urushi penetrates the wood, highlighting the grain and other subtleties of the natural material.
We welcome two makers to our shop from the Nurimon Akinai collective, Yamanakanuri & Kinsai.