Coloring with copper

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About coloring copperware

Takaoka copperware is colored with several techniques.
We make more than 10 kids of colors the use of our techniques and chemical reactions. These techniques made by our founders.
They would have created their techniques and colors after repeated trial and error. These are our valuable techniques. These coloring are very matched with a low of nature.
For a long time, these techniques have been keeping our trusts and fame of Takaoka copperware.

Typical coloring

Typical coloring

[NIIRO color (simmered)]

Soak copperware to solution of copper sulfate and basic copper carbonate, and then heat it up gradually. After that wait until temperature turns down naturally. While soaking the colors comes out on surface. This technique creates color to oxidized copper and makes a thin film on its surface and then an electroless plating to copper. Use for vases and tools of tea ceremony.

[NABECHOU color]

Soaked to TANPANNZU-YOUEKI.( base color made by copper sulfate dissolution in vinegar) Then brew dried Miscanthus tinctorius with water and soak again with boiled solution and put it back to based color then make yellow-red color. At the end apply sumac to its surface. Use for vases and tools of tea ceremony.

[SHUDOU color (Vermilion copper)]

Apply mixed KOMENUKA( rice bran) and chemicals to product and burn it until its get red then cool it.After that polish black oxide a film then red SYUDOU(vermilion copper) appears unevenly.Spots appears clearly to soak with TANPANZU-YOUEKI( base color) and simmer color.

[OHAGURO color]

Solutio of burnt scrap iron in Japanese Sake and vinegar more than couples of months, dilute with water 2 or 10 times by various uses. Then burn or dye for coloring. Times of printing and the level of OHAGURO concentration make right red and dark brown. OHAGURO color also creates colors with combination to NIIRO color, SHUDOU color, etc. Use for incense burners and vases.

[YAKISEIDOU color (burned bronze) ]

Apply mixed KOMENUKA(rice bran) with chemicals to product or not apply it and just burnt bronze baked with hard charcoal makes an oxide film. Then create SEIDOU color. Use for vases.

[SEIDOU color (bronze)]

Bronze color is more bright and elegant

Bronze has been using since descoverd copper more than 10,000BC.The culture of bronze spread through Mesopotamia civilization and China to Japan. DOTAKU and bronze have excavated a lot in Japan.Bronze’s colors are emerald green, dark green, bright blue and dark brown.Every bronze has been making up patinas all over for long years by decaying. That is our bronze color. This color is created artificially used by natural corrosions and patinas.We write copper’s patinas as verdigris, it is the greenish substance, which forms when copper reacts with carbon dioxide in the air. We use many chemicals and techniques to make the verdigris in short time.To compound these chemicals (TANPANZU copper sulfate, acetic acid copper, ammonium chloride etc…) then apply during burn it at same time or at times under the sunshine. We apply it over and over again. This help to make green rust naturally on its surface and make oxide a film similar to natural color of verdigris. There is no manual to create bronze colors. This is all different by technicians. They’ve been taking over history of Takaoka copperwares skills and also developing their new styles.


The last process for coloring is coating surface with beeswax and ITABOwax.
By coating with wax give glazing, avoid getting a stain and make it stronger.


Beeswax from beehive. It’s good for glazing and protecting surface.

[IBOTA wax]

Insects (IBOTAKAIGARAMUSHI) parasitic on the bark from IBOTA tree.They has wax on body surface, when its emerges in fall season they left IBOTA wax on the bark.This calls IBOTA flower. It’s powdery.Wrap that powder with a cloth and pad to product and rub. Heat up IBOTA flower and make it hard. It calls IBOTA crystal. Then rubbed it to heated product with a cloth. This crystal is high temperature of melting point and spread well. So, it makes good glazing and strong top grade of wax.

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