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CCA Edition 2023

Yasuhiro Asai

The artist selected for the 2023 edition is the Japanese Yasuhiro Asai, amongst the greatest experts in urushi or Japanese lacquer, one of Japan's most ancient and valuable art forms that consists of processing the sap obtained from certain trees in south-east Asia into exceptionally shiny objects, often embellished with gold powder decorations or mother-of-pearl inlays.

The work consists of an incense burner crafted using this ancient technique. The title SAIKOU comes from 西 (SAI = West - Europe) and 香 (KOU = fragrance). SAIKOU therefore means “the fragrance of Europe” and specifically of Italian grapes and wine.

There are two inspiring concepts: culture and perfume. In fact, this precious object combines the thousand-year-old tradition of the lacquer with the culture and fragrance of incense. The inspiration is drawn from Costasera Amarone, a cultural symbol of a territory expressed through the aroma and taste of wine. "I felt that the taste and aroma of the carefully produced Costasera Amarone are deeply elegant and truly artistic. Starting from this idea, I used traditional techniques along with a modern sense of design and took about two years to create the work”, the artist explained. The grape bunch motif that adorns the object is made of mother-of-pearl with blue and violet undertones.

The bottle

Labels with a reproduction of his work will adorn a selection of bottles of Costasera 2005.

The profits from sales provide the funds for a study scholarship for a young art student chosen at the end of the project.


Costasera Contemporary Art Edition 2023
Meet the artist

Yasuhiro Asai

Born on June 9, 1983, Yasuhiro Asai became interested in urushi (Japanese lacquer) and maki-e while studying at Kibi Kogen High School. In 2004, he graduated from Takaoka National College, Department of Industrial Design, Lacquerware Course. In 2005, he studied under Kazumi Murose. In 2007, Asai became independent, opening his own maki-e studio. He has been based in Kyoto City since June 2017.

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