Maki-e Go Bowls (蒔絵碁笥)
I once saw these go bowls with an asking price of JPY1.2M (over USD13k at current rates). So ornate that some people might find it too gaudy. But for people who know about the painstaking maki-e process, they will marvel at this superb display of Japanese craftsmanship. The combination of lacquer mixed with gold, silver and other colored particles is slowly applied layer by layer. Each layer needs to be dried and polished before the next can be applied. If the artist makes one mistake, it ruins the masterpiece. Therefore only highly trained artisans who have had many years of experience would be allowed to work on such important pieces. Notice the well thought out features such as having a different design for each bowl — a pair of silver storks for the bowl used for white stones and a black crow for the one used for black stones. And there is so much patience applied to background details such as the tree branches and leaves which are carefully drawn with clear vigorous strokes. Even the inside of the lid is decorated as if you were looking at the clouds in the sky. What a fabulous piece for a serious go equipment collector.