A traditional decorative craft

Discover the Beauty & History of Japanese Makie Design

Makie (蒔絵) or maki-e is a luxurious and elegant way of decorating Fude makeup brush handles. The technique traditional Japanese lacquerware craft that involves sprinkling or applying metallic powders, typically gold or silver, onto lacquer to create intricate designs. The term "maki-e" literally translates to "sprinkled picture" in Japanese, reflecting the process used to create these exquisite designs.

The history of maki-e dates back over 1,200 years to the Nara period (710-794), although its peak popularity and refinement occurred during the Heian period (794-1185). The technique was originally used to decorate Buddhist temples and statues, but it gradually found its way into the production of lacquerware items such as boxes, trays, tea utensils, and writing instruments.

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Makie involves a meticulous and time-consuming process. First, a base layer of lacquer is applied to the object, typically made from wood or other materials. The lacquer is then polished to achieve a smooth surface. Next, the design is drawn onto the surface using charcoal or colored pigments. Artisans skilled in maki-e use special brushes to apply multiple layers of lacquer, each followed by the application of metallic powders.

The metallic powders are carefully sprinkled or delicately placed onto the wet lacquer, adhering to the surface. Once the design is complete, additional layers of clear lacquer are applied to protect and enhance the design. Finally, the object is polished to a glossy finish, revealing the brilliance and depth of the metallic designs.

Maki-e has evolved over time, with various techniques and styles emerging. Some of the notable maki-e styles include Togidashi Maki-e (burnished maki-e), where multiple layers of lacquer are polished to create a deep relief effect, and Raden Maki-e, which incorporates iridescent mother-of-pearl inlays.

Maki-e lacquerware is highly valued for its exquisite craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the skill required to create these intricate designs. It has become a treasured art form, with maki-e lacquerware items often regarded as both functional and decorative masterpieces. Today, maki-e continues to be practiced by skilled artisans in Japan, carrying on the rich tradition and beauty of this ancient art form.


Makie Fude Makeup Brushes

Chikuhodo Makie Brushes

Chikuhodo's Makie series covers their beloved MK series, with frequent new and limited releases. Often seasonal themed and based on elements of Japanese culture like sakura (cherry blossoms) and koi (carp fish). Their stylish and cute BK travel series is also embellished with Makie sakura design.

"The MK-SK Sakura is my very first Makie handle which makes this fude brush even more special to me. I am so please I waited for this intricate cherry blossom makie design from master artisan, Tesshyu Takemori. It is so unbelievably beautiful with the sparkling gold and silver sakura details that wrap most of the way around the glossy handle." (MK-SK Sakura Powder Brush)

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Eihodo Makie Brushes

Eihodo's Makie series focuses mainly on three different types of sakura (cherry blossoms) -- light (うす桜 'usu-zakura'), small (小桜 'ko-zakura'), and peony (牡丹桜 'botan-zakura'), on powder and eyeshadow brushes that differ in shape and material, but always high-quality natural bristles. In 2022, they also release the goldfish (金業 'kingyo') design.

"Work of art and functionality. The bristles are silky soft and beautifully bundled. The Makie Kingyo handle are beautiful. This length looks pleasing to the eye as well as creating a sense of balance on the hand when held." (Kingyo 金魚 Goldfish Powder Brush, Gold Ferrule)

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Tauhaus Sakura/Autumn Leaf O-21 Portable Brush, Makie Series - Fude Beauty, Japanese Makeup Brushes

Tauhaus Makie Brushes

Tauhaus is based in Kumano Japan, which boasts the largest volume of brush artisans in Japan. Tauhaus brushes are handmade by skilled craftspeople, who specialize in the different areas of assembly. Their brushes are made in small-batch production due to the time-consuming nature of selecting bristles, handmade production and quality control.

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Nakamura Seisakusho Makie Brushes

Kumano-based brand Nakamura Seisakusho use makie to enhance the design of their portable brush series. Three brushes in differing designs - Cosmos, Sun and Moon, and a Peony and Butterfly Design - all with natural bristles.

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Koyudo Makie Brushes

Koyudo Makie brushes are often limited releases, so you'll need to catch them quickly if you see them available! They're used on a wide range of brush types, in the more premium natural bristle range. The designs are typically spring (cherry blossom) and autumn (maple leaf) themed.

"This is not just a pretty brush with a elegant handle, but the softest hair i have ever felt. It is undeniably the most luxurious hair. I highly recommend it. It works perfectly for blush, bronzer, or for any other powder product." (Sakura Makie Face Brush)

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