Sustainable Urushi Restoration: In Conversation with ‘Living National Treasure’ Murose Kazumi

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventPublic lecture/debate/seminar


Certified as a Bearer of Important Intangible Cultural Property (‘Living National Treasure’) by the Japanese government in 2008, urushi master craftsman Murose Kazumi is renowned, not only for his outstanding creative works, but also for his commitment to the preservation and restoration of urushi cultural assets.

A natural lacquer made from tree sap, urushi has been used in Japan for its functional and decorative properties since the Jōmon period (approx. 14,000—300 BCE); the earliest lacquerware excavated in Japan dated at around 9,000 years old.

Objects coated with urushi are extraordinarily long-lasting, however over time they will slowly deteriorate due to ultraviolet rays and other factors. The restoration and repair of urushi works is highly complicated and specialist work, requiring full mastery of the craft in addition to detailed knowledge of the background of the piece acquired by intensive research. If carefully maintained, urushi objects can last for thousands of years.

During his presentation Murose Kazumi introduces urushi’s long history and eco-friendly properties and discusses his work on the conservation of important historical urushi artefacts, safeguarding their beauty, and the knowledge of the specialist techniques that underpin them, for future generations.

Following the presentation, he is joined in conversation by Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures).

This talk is part of a series of events featuring Murose Kazumi held in collaboration with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) and Royal Collection Trust.
Period15 Feb 2023
Event typePublic lecture/seminar/debate
LocationLondon, United Kingdom