Some of you might know, this is an old Japanese method to fix broken tableware using urushi lacquer as adhesive. For those who haven’t heard of urushi, I will explain.

Urushi lacquer is tree sap harvested from Asian sumac tree by scoring the trunk, just like the harvesting maple syrup. Unearthed artifacts show that it has been used as strong adhesive from ancient times before recorded history. The beautiful sheen and color was prized by emperors and nobles, and has been used for luxurious tableware, temple columns, buddhism statues, and others.

The problem of urushi lacquer though, is its toxicity when it's fluid, even though the toxicity completely lost when it’s hardened. So that the people who work with urushi lacquer has to be extremely careful not to touch it.

Another problem is the amount of production. one tree can produce only a small amount of sap during the lifetime, and the method of harvesting is labor intensive.

In spite of many difficulties, or may be because of its difficulties, I still have great interest in urushi. And kintsugi uses urushi as adhesive. Kintsugi resurrects broken glasses or potteries, and even appreciate the imperfection as enhanced character. There is afterlife for tableware even if it’s broken! Kintsugi can be a wonderful solution when our favorite vases or plates are broken.

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