Maki-e (蒔絵, literally: sprinkled picture) is Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder as a decoration using a makizutsu or a kebo brush.
The oldest Maki-e in existence now is the ornamentation on the sheath of the Kara-tachi sword with gilded silver fittings and inlay in Togidashi technique held by Shōsōin in Nara, Japan.
Maki-e objects were initially designed as household items for court nobles; they soon gained more popularity and were adopted by royal families and military leaders as a symbol of power.
To create different colours and textures, maki-e artists use a variety of metal powders including gold, silver, copper, brass, lead, aluminum, platinum, and pewter, as well as their alloys.
Maki-e can be left to dry, as is maki-hanashi, or relacquered and polished (togidashi maki-e).
It is frequently decorated with reed-style pictures (ashide-e) or combined with inlays of other metals or mother-of-pearl (raden).
Hiramaki-e has a low-relief design, and takamaki-e has a high-relief design.
Bamboo tubes and soft brushes of various sizes are used for laying powders and drawing fine lines.
As it requires highly skilled craftsmanship to produce a maki-e painting, young artists usually go through many years of training to develop the skills and to ultimately become maki-e masters.
Maki-e artwork can be found all across the Internet.