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Lacquer Ware

Chinese lacquer ware, otherwise known as lacquerware and lacquerwork, involves subtle techniques to produce individual works of fragile beauty. in order to make the pieces, superfine pines make up the base of the object, covered with hemp or paper and cloth, and covered with plaster to finish the designs. Chinese lacquer ware includes over 3000 varieties of work, ranging from screens, cabinets and tables to stands, boxes and plates. Traditional techniques for these works include inlaying, painting and etching, as well as coromandel, cover-coating, and wrapping with different jades ad stones, and breaking veins. The practice of lacquering stems from over 4000 years ago, and has been used to coat both common objects such as furniture, and personal, small items such as combs and earrings.
Lacquer originates from the sap of the Rhus Veniciflua, or Varnish tree. This species originates from central Asia, and can now be found throughout China and Japan. as a member of the Anacardiaceae family, sharing descent with the mango, pistachio and cashew trees. The sap that is extracted from the varnish tree can go through several stages to produce different types of lacquer. After the impurities of the sap have been removed, it is known as 'crude lacquer'. Crude lacquer is most commonly used as a primer for most lacquer works. This substance alters when it is heated before treatment, with a getle humid heat of between 35-45 degrees Celsius increasing its quality. This lacquer is known as Kurome lacquer. Alternatively, if the crude lacquer is heated further to 60 degrees Celsius it becomes Hosezu lacquer, which does not dry and harden.

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