Section of bowl missing, filled with ceramic shards from other pieces


Urushi is bulked with a fine clay to adhere the shards


A coarser mixture is used to fill any voids


A very fine layer of urushi is finally applied prior to the gold leaf


The finished teabowl

Rice bowl

Example using modern materials and gold powder

Rice bowl

Closer look

Rice bowl

The reverse



Gold Lacquer Repair was developed in Japan to repair tea bowls for the tea ceremony in the 16th century. It was then thought that an object to which Gold lacquer repair had been applied to was more valuable.

Urushi is a refined tree sap used in this process, conferring strength to an object after the repair. However, due to its high toxicity, nowadays an epoxy resin must be used instead.

These images show two examples: a pink tea bowl repaired with Urushi and gold leaf and an Oil spot glazed rice bowl repaired with epoxy resin and gold powder.

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A bag of shards

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Inside a bag of shards

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Sorting shards and clean dust from edges

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Attaching shards with conservation-grade adhesive whilst holding them in place with tape

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A complete rice bowl

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Filling areas of loss and breaklines

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Gold powder applied to inside

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Complete bowl

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Complete bowl

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Complete bowl

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Complete bowl


This earthenware bowl had huge sentimental value to its owners. They wanted to repair it in a way that its history and memory would be preserved thus considering the gold repair technique.

I used genuine 23ct gold powder, which does not tarnish, but silver and other metallic powders are available upon request.

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© 2015-2020 by Tiago Oliveira