Gallery Exhibition: Mitsuhiko Takada

Arrestingly beautiful, maki-e lacquerware is growing scarce.


Originally developed for decorating ink stone holders, tea jars and other household items of pre-modern Japan, the multilayered, vibrantly colored lacquer style appears to be losing its luster as those objects fall out of use.

Maki-e master Mitsuhiko Takada has a solution: Les Paul guitars, antique Toyota sportscars and anything else that represents “the collaboration of old and new.”

“As I only create custom pieces, I look all over the world for collectors who want to create pieces that are one-of-a-kind,” says Takada, who is originally from Gifu Prefecture and now calls Kanazawa home. “In this age, there is constant demand for something new.”  

“New” doesn’t mean quick and easy. Takada sometimes takes more than two years applying over 200 layers to a single piece.

“Each and every step requires precision to create a beautiful piece,” he says.

Takada’s maki-e exhibition at the Frederick Harris Gallery runs through January 14.

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