Contemporary Maki-e – Living National Treasures
In 1950, the Japanese government enacted the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. It designated intangible craft techniques of high artistic and historical value as Important Intangible Cultural Properties (Living National Treasures) to support the preservation and transmission of traditional craft techniques. In 1955, the Nihon Kōgeikai (Japan Kōgei Association) was created with Living National Treasures as its core members. The aim was to preserve, hand down, and publicize craft techniques, as well as to organize Nihon Dentō Kōgeiten (Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibitions) in order to raise the level of creativity.
As one of the first Living National Treasures in the field of lacquer art, Matsuda Gonroku (1896-1986) directed Japanese culture after World War II. In addition to his artistic output, Gonroku devoted himself to the study of classic lacquerware and the training of many successors.