Ivory Inlay (Shibayama)

The Shibayama technique was named after Shibayama Dosho, who introduced it in Japan in the 18th century. It was used exclusively on items for import to the West. Shibayama artists inlaid with microscopic pieces of inlay, elaborately carved and on a ground of lacquer, to stand out in relief.

Shibayama is the art of semiprecious stones, shell, turtleshell etc inlayed on lacquer and ivory pieces. The items decorated in the Shibayama style range from vases, boxes and table-screens to swords and entire ivory tusks.

However he cannot be said to have invented it, but, as has been observed of many other Japanese applied arts, the perfecting of the method was mistaken for its origin.

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