Modern Maki-e – Traditional Styles
Lacquer art in the Meiji period (1868-1912) inherited and developed the excellent techniques of the Edo period (1603-1868) while, at the same time, creating new techniques and designs adapted to modern times amid the changes brought about by the Meiji Restoration. Meanwhile, following the success of world fairs in Europe and the U.S., domestic fairs and exhibitions came to be held and flourished. As a result it became possible to display and sell maki-e works at such public events.
In addition, the Imperial Household Artist System was instigated by the Imperial Household to protect and encourage artists of the various arts and crafts. It also played a significant role in the protection and development of traditional crafts.
This section introduces some exceptional works by Shibata Zeshin (1807-91), Ikeda Taishin (1825-1903), Kawanobe Itchō (1830-1910), and Shirayama Shōsai (1853-1923), who were involved in the production of maki-e for export, participated in domestic and international exhibitions, and were also active as Imperial Household Artists.