Lacquer Ware

The lacquer ware is one of exquisite Chinese crafts. Chinese lacquer ware has a long history dating back as early as the New Stone Age. The original wares in China were those coated with black and red lacquers. From the Shang Dynasty to the Han, colorful painting, gold inlaying and other techniques were introduced into the making of lacquer ware. The oldest lacquer ware discovered dates back to the Warring State Period (403--221 BC) when lacquer ware was popular.

Chinese lacquer is a natural varnish made from the sap of the lacquer tree. China is abundant in lacquer resources. Lacquer trees in Mainland China are distributed in some 550 counties in 23 provinces. Exposed to air, it forms a plastic coat, resistant to water, acid or alkaline corrosion. To make lacquer ware, a base coat is applied to a core material, followed by extremely thin layers of the finest lacquer. Once these have dried, a final layer is added to make the lacquer strong and light, whilst maintaining the elegant appearance and harmonious color. It was in the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties, when the lacquer ware production started to flourish.

Fuzhou lacquer wares are resistant to heat, acid, alkali and electricity. The lacquer wares made in Yangzhou are famous for their elegance and delicacy and the unique creative technique. Pingyao, an ancient town in Shanxi Province, produces lacquer ware which features the luster polished by craftsmen's palms.