Snapshot 12: Souvenir

Souvenir—At the risk of repeating myself, true lacquer is a remarkable material.  It is a finish, an adhesive and a decorative medium, too.  But that is not all.  In China many layers were built up so that it could be carved.  In Japan a more practical and less time consuming method was developed in order to create the same effect.  First a core of wood was carved and then finished with lacquer.

In fact, the better types of true lacquerware all have a wooden core.  But cloth can also be used in combination with a mould or former to obtain a desired shape.

That is how this cigarette case was made.  It was produced in an attempt to tap in to a niche market in occupied Japan after World War Two.  What U.S. GI could resist one of these fine souvenirs.

Smoking paraphernalia spawned a universal demand for all kinds of artefacts and gadgets the world over.  All that has now more or less gone and has never really been replaced.  Nevertheless, I would still like one of these, which could easily be put to another use.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

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