For this sake-bottle vase, decorated with a Japanese landscape that was accidentally broken, I decided to use two particularly challenging and delicate techniques in addition to 24-carat gold kintsugi: burgautage and maki-e.
The first term comes from burgau, the common name for many mother-of-pearl-producing shellfish. This is the mystery ingredient of this restoration: finely chiselled mother-of-pearl in the shape of clouds, inlaid in natural black lacquer.
This traditional Japanese technique, known as Raden, demands meticulous, patient work: it requires a great deal of sanding and polishing, to achieve a perfectly smooth finish to the touch and a mirror-polished shine. With an added difficulty in the case of this piece: the surface is curved rather than flat, making inlaying all the more complex.
Maki-e means “sprinkled image” and is a traditional Japanese art. Fresh lacquer is sprinkled with gold to create a luminous decoration. I used this technique to complete my decor by drawing more clouds.
The result? A 23cm-high piece that has become absolutely unique. The alliance of two ancestral techniques and a noble-looking vase.
The mother-of-pearl used here is particularly precious: it comes from a very specific shellfish, the Turbo Marmoratus, famous for its many reflections ranging from green to fuchsia pink.