In commemoration of the opening of GINZA SIX, we’ve created bunkobako, which are beautiful stationery and letter boxes, utilizing the art of lacquering, one of Japan’s signature traditional crafts.

A union of genuine lacquer ware from Yamada Heiando, an officially appointed lacquer ware purveyor to the Imperial Household Agency, and D-BROS’s modern graphic design, there are only four of these limited edition boxes in the world, each one with its own serial number.

Everything from the lacquering to the painting on the box itself was done by hand, and finished in the Echizen style of painting. Bunkobako are also called fubako. In olden times, these boxes were used to store and bring books around, but we’d be happy if you would use your limited edition bunkobako as a beloved treasure box where you store you wallet and other valuables.

The lacquer painting on the lid was painted using clear lacquer with pigment mixed in it. The lacquer painting process starts with processing the sap of a lacquer tree to make paint. This picture from Yamada Heiando shows a lacquer tree that was slashed using a knife and undergoing the process of urushikaki.*

*Urushikaki is the process of slashing a lacquer tree’s bark, and collecting the sap (lacquer) that oozes out with a spatula.

When impurities in the sap are removed and the sap is refined, it becomes clear. Pigment is then mixed into this clear sap, which then becomes lacquer paint. Knowing this makes us understand just how precious lacquer is.

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The superiority of the craftsman’s skill is evident in the difficulty of making the lacquer paint look uniform in thickness, and painting without leaving brush marks. If the lacquer painting is done on a small area (such as a design that can be painted in one brushstroke, for example, a small flower’s twig), the painting can look beautiful by changing how the brush is held. However, the sense of tension in the overall design on the lids of these boxes is influenced by how flat the finish of the lid designs appears. We think that the intuition and painting skill of the seasoned craftsman was a factor in producing such a wonderful product. The golden part of the design uses gold dust, resulting in a gorgeous finish.

In lacquer painting, lacquer that has withstood time is more sheer and has an improved color compared to freshly-painted lacquer, thus imparting a vibrant look.

One characteristic of lacquer is how it dries. It dries by first absorbing moisture in the air – a process that upends our notion of drying (the substance urushiol in lacquer absorbs oxygen in the air, oxidizes, and turns liquid into another substance). Thus, please do not put the box away – please use it every day and enjoy its well-used feel.

Please do drop by our store and take a look at our bunkobako.

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About the Design’s Concept

Toad Lily (Left)
The entire surface of the box’s lid depicts a mountain stream, the toad lily’s natural habitat. Only found in Japan’s Mt. Osuzu, we chose the toad lily for its rarity, and we hope you will keep this in mind as you imagine the faraway place this box evokes.

Morning Glory (Right)
The design on entire surface of this stationery and letter box’s lid depicts morning glories formed from vines growing by a porch, evoking a beautiful and rhythmical Japanese scene. Cultivation of this gorgeous flower flourished during the Edo Period (1603-1868), and we aimed to create an elegant and tasteful stationery and letter box that somehow inspires you to look back to the olden days.

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These stationery and letter boxes are only sold at the D-BROS Ginza store while supplies last.

 

D-BROS GINZA HP
http://db-shop.jp/ginza/

 

▼Our new collection of products, the “traditional arts series” which was created for GINZA SIX are also now available at the D-BROS WEB STORE! Products from this collection may only be purchased at GINZA SIX and our WEB STORE.

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