'The Industries of Japan', 1869.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Bound cover of 'The Industries of Japan: together with an account of its agriculture, forestry, arts, and commerce' by J J Rein, published in 1869. Johannes Justus Rein (1835-1918) was a German scholar who travelled extensively in Japan in the mid 1870s. This striking cover imitates Japanese lacquer work. This was one of the more well-developed of Japan's indigenous industries. During the Tokugawa period lacquer work had diversified into hundreds of distinct local techniques: some used gold, silver, mother-of-pearl, or egg-shell inlays. Others involved mixing lacquer with various mineral pigments, the engraving of patterns in the varnish, or techniques to polish the finished work.