Issuance of the Report “Study of the Japan-made Lacquerwork found in Thailand – Lacquer Door Panels of Wat Rajpradit”

Lacquer Door Panels of Wat Rajpradit - mother-of-pearl with underpainting is seen in both the upper and lower parts, and cedar material decorated with colored lacquer maki-e is found in the middle portions.
Front Cover of the Report

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) has been conducting a joint study to preserve the cultural heritage of Thailand in collaboration with the Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture of Thailand (FAD), since 1992. As a part of this joint study, we have been providing technical support through related parties in Thailand, including the Temple and FAD, for the restoration project related to the lacquer door panels at Wat Rajpradit, the first-grade royal Buddhism temple built in 1864.
 Restoration of cultural heritage requires devising a plan based on detailed research on materials, techniques, surrounding environment, and deterioration status of each cultural heritage, and the restoration work needs to proceed according to the plan. Hence, relevant scientific investigation on the cultural heritage in question is crucial. Lacquer door panels at Wat Rajpradit were believed to be made in Japan because they have designs of flowers and birds, landscapes, and figures wearing Japanese kimonos, and they feature work in mother-of-pearl with underpaint techniques, which were often used in lacquerware exported from Japan in the mid-19th century. However, there was neither concrete evidence nor clues regarding their producers and their positioning in the history of such techniques. Therefore, numerous experts in various fields from TOBUNKEN and other organizations conducted scientific investigations and research studies on the designs expressed in mother-of-pearl with underpainting and colored lacquer maki-e. According to these studies, the material ingredients, techniques, and design elements found in the lacquer door panels strongly suggest that they were made in Japan.
 The report “Study of the Japan-made Lacquerwork found in Thailand – Lacquer Door Panels of Wat Rajpradit,” published in Japanese in March 2021 assists in understanding these research outcomes and provides an overview of the interdisciplinary research on cultural heritage. This report is accessible in the TOBUNKEN Library, public libraries in Japan, and some libraries in overseas museums that have collections of Japanese artworks. We hope that you will read it.

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