Nobuyuki Tanaka is one of Japan's leading contemporary urushi artists, exploring the sculptural possibilities of this ancient art form that starts with the toxic sap from a lacquer tree, indigenous to East Asia. The sap is filtered, heat-treated, and colored into a highly durable and glossy varnish used in materials ranging from tableware and jewelry to fountain pens and musical instruments. Collaborating with architects, Tanaka has also produced large-scale lacquer creations that grace numerous buildings, including Tokyo's high-design Conrad Hotel.
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