Chinkin - Ornamental Beauty Created by the Art of Carving

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Wajima Lacquer Arts Institute


The Ishikawa Prefectural Institute of Wajima Lacquer Arts was established in 1967 by the initiative of the late Matsuda Gonroku, the great master of Lacquerware (It was municipally run by Wajima City at the time of foundation but the running was later transferred to Ishikawa Prefecture in 1972). The roles of the institute are to preserve and develop lacquerware techniques, to research and study, and to collect related documents and data. The institute aims to hand down the techniques and skills possessed by artists designated as Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasures) to future generations. These artists make up its most important professors.

The institute provides two courses; the regular training course and a special introductory training course. In the regular course, there are four areas of study; "Soji" (woodwork), "Kyushitsu" (lacquering), "Makie" (lacquer ornamentation techniques) and "Chinkin" (lacquer ornamentation by carving). This course gives three years of training to those who already have basic skills in their chosen area. The special introductory course is designed for beginners who want to learn basic skills. The students study lacquering and ornamental techniques for two years. As the regular course requires the students to already have basic skills, many of them are craftsmen working independently or are in apprenticeships. The students in this course have contributed to raising the technical level of Wajima lacquerware.

As the number of students in each course is small, training is given in a one-to-one style basically by making pieces of work. No admission or tuition fee is required. Everything is paid for by the institute except for the minimum personal tools required by the institute and the textbooks for the introductory course. Therefore the students can receive the training without financial concern.