When the Virginia Atchley book of her collection was published I found a pipecase in the Tsugaru-nuri technique on page 293. Please have a look into her book. Virginia and her co-author Neil Davey describe this lacquer technique on page 341 in a short version. Let me quote:
Named after the province of Tsugaru where it is said to have originated, this technique involves several layers of different coloured lacquers which are applied unevenly to the base. When dry, they are polished flat, giving the surface a marbled appearance
You can find a more detailed description for Tsugaru-nuri in Kurt Herberts's book DAS BUCH DER OSTASIATISCHEN LACKKUNST, Düsseldorf, 1959. See pages 403, 404, 414, 415.
From this book and other sources I want to add some more facts of Tsugaru-nuri.
The place Tsugaru is located in the north of Honshu in Aomori Prefecture. Tsugaru is the name of the area where the technique came up in Japan. Nuri means Coating.
Ikeda Genbei was the lacquerer to developpe the technique in the 18'th centuri.
In Herberts's work a chinese lacquer box is identified in this technique, which is dated Ming Period (1368-1644). This indicates, that Tsugaru-nuri might be of chinese origin.
In an advertizing for Aomori's current lacquerware business a more detailed description is given:
Tsugaru-nuri begins with as many as 48 applications of a base layer, all of which must completely dry before any progress can be made. Then, the pattern layers are painted on. To achieve the distinctive pattern of Tsugaru-nuri, a spatula-like tool is used to apply the resin. Colored surface patterns are dictated by the thickness of the pattern lacquer layers. Finally several coats of the surface layers are applied and allowed to dry.
After the application of the surface layers is complete, the patterns are brought out by sanding and polishing with wet sandpaper, eventually reaching the multicolored layers beneath. The finished result is a piece bearing a rich, mottled pattern with depth and a glossy sheen. The entire process from start to finish can take more than 60 days. Some people say, the lacquerware's distinct beauty is the result of the dark, long winters of Aomori
Now we know about the basics of Tsugaru-nuri lacquer.
Here is an example from my collection,