In the shape of a hand-built Raku-ware bowl for tea-ceremony use, formed from layers of hemp cloth soaked with urushi lacquer, allowed to set and further lacquered and polished to a lustrous roiro deep-black finish; the sides decorated with fine gold powders in patterns evoking the irregular surface of a Raku-ware bowl. Signed in red lacquer on the base Yū. Comes with the original fitted kiri-wood tomobako storage box inscribed and signed on the side Kanshitsu chawan Heian Yūji tsukuru (Dried-lacquer tea bowl made by Yūji of Kyoto) with seal Yūji
Okada adopts the ancient kanshitsu (“dry lacquer”) method, originally used to create Buddhist statuary, combining layers of hemp cloth with the dark, sticky sap of the lacquer tree (Rhus verniciflua). A host of elaborate processes are required to transform the rough dried-lacquer core into a gleaming vessel for the appreciation of matcha (powdered green tea): filling, smoothing, applying, and drying layer upon layer of filtered lacquer; sprinkling the finest gold flakes and powders onto the still-damp surface; and smoothing and polishing numerous times using stone, charcoal, and powdered stag horn.
Okada began his training in lacquer art at Kyoto’s Hiyoshigaoka High School and in 1969 went on to become an uchideshi (live-in apprentice) to Itō Hiroshi. A quick learner, he started to show his work in 1970, when he received an award for a piece submitted to the Kyoto Municipal Craft exhibition. Since then he has exhibited widely in Japan and overseas and taught students not just from Japan but also from the US, Germany, and the UK. Works by Okada Yūji are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/77015) (https://collections.mfa.org/objects/460367/ryuseiyo) (https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/293921.html). His son Yoshio, who also uses the kanshitsu technique, was showcased in a special exhibition at the Thomsen Gallery in 2016 and 2018