“Most of the people who collect lacquer sap from the urushi tree spend their summers in the mountains collecting and their winters working a seasonal job in the city. I want to be independent so I use the time in which I’m not collecting sap to make lacquer spoons.
I decided on spoons because, unlike larger pieces, I can do all the work myself from start to finish. I carve the wooden spoons by hand and lacquer them with lacquer that I collect myself.
When I carve the forms I don’t use any fixed patterns. I do it completely by feeling with my hands. To do the final carving I use planes that are about the size of a finger joint. My current spoon forms have developed little by little over the years through small changes and improvements.”
谷口吏 | TSUTOMU TANIGUCHI（1949- 2015）
was born in 1949 in Kisei (Mie Prefecture). After finishing high school, he worked for five years as a technician for the Japanese Railroad. In 1973, he left his job and moved to Ishigakijima, one of the most southerly islands of the Okinawa island chain, where he made a living doing temporary jobs.
In 1980 he met Sawaguchi Shigeru, the most important mentor of the Meishitsu-kai (Clear Lacquer Group). Upon his advice, Taniguchi began an apprenticeship in lacquer collecting with Sunamori Isao. Since then he has been spending his summers in remote forests collecting lacquer and his winters carving spoons.
Taniguchi is one of the last living professional lacquer collecters in Japan. Because of his work, his life has been characterized by numerous moves. He presently lives in Yama-gun (Fukushima Prefecture), where he also trains young lacquer collecters.
Taniguchi’s carved and lacquered spoons number among the most beautiful small lacquer works that are presently available in Japan and are very much in demand. His repertoire includes some 20 different spoon forms. He makes about 300 spoons per year. Taniguchi has past away in 2015 spring.
“Nurimono. Japanische Lackmeister der Gegenwart,” group exhibition, Museum für Lackkunst Münster, Galerie Handwerk München, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Berlin, 1996 -1997.
Die Neue Sammlung – Staatliches Museum für angewandte Kunst, München.