Cinnabar was important in both China and Japan. In fact, in 1609 the Japanese gave control of cinnabar (Kanji) mining to an official sanctioned guild.The material is the same but the techniques that each country uses are different... this has led to a lot of confusion.
The Japanese artist generally carved the wood first and then added a thin coat of lacquer with a second thin coat of another color on top...then some shallow carving. Occasionally deep carved layered lacquer (like the Chinese) does appear in Japan...but I have seen it used in Japanese beads or jewelry.
This is a good example of the delicate carving of lacquer beads from Japan (some cinnabar) compared to the more dramatic Chinese carving....
These huge rare Japanese cinnabar and glass enamel beads exhibit the same shallow carving, but the blue and white enamel flowers make them stand out...very unusual because these cinnabar beads have a hollow brass base and are quite heavy ...6.5 grams per bead.
Subtle or dramatic, these cinnabar beads have a personality to suit every mood and reflect the wonderful artistry of both cultures.