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Black Negoro lacquerware heishi


Black Negoro lacquerware heishi

Muromachi period
Private collection
H: 325 mm, W: 270 mm<br />
Wood box, Otoshi (glass for storing water)

The provenance of the piece is unclear, but the form of this heishi* with its broad shoulders narrowing down in linear fashion to its base is reminiscent of ancient styles. The entire piece is finished using the Black Negoro nuri technique. The inside of the spout is the only place where red lacquer can be found. Although presently almost imperceptible, there are three chrysanthemum crests painted in red lacquer on both the base and shoulder of the bottle, reminding one of the splendors of days gone by.

Two old repairs are noted on the shoulder and foot of the bottle. The integrity of the lacquer is well maintained, and no extra caution is necessary when handling the bottle. An insert is included so that it can be used as a flower vase.


*Heishi are sake bottles used to dedicate or offer sake to Kami in Shintō shrines. Heishi are used in pairs and not as single vessels. The proportions of such bottles are varied, but the spout and body as well as the base are shaped separately using a lathe. The pieces are then joined and finished to perfection.

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