Lacquerware with an undercoat of black lacquer covered by a coat of red lacquer or vice versa came to be known as “negoro”. This appellation originates from Negoro-ji, a temple in Kishu domain (now Wakayama Prefecture) during the prosperous 14th century, were priests made vessels for food and drink offerings to the gods and buddhas. In 1585 the temple was set to flames and the artisans who escaped purportedly spread the lacquer technique of negoro to various parts of Japan. Daily tableware, tea untensils, recipiënts, stationary … were lacquered in negoro-nuri.
After long years of use, the red lacquer on the surface of negoro ware wore away to reveal a black layer underneath. These lacquered objects, which revealed their beauty over time, were highly prized by tea practitioners and art aficionados. Negoro – which posesses the mystique of a solid, practical form, the distinctive colors of red and black, a soft laquered surface, and a stury base – embodies the beauty of early japanese applied art.