lost art becoming more rare each year
art pieces have been produced in China for many centuries.
Lacquer is produced from the sap of the lac tree, which is commonly found
in central and southern China. Various
pigments are added to the resulting lacquer to change its color, and then the
lacquer is applied in many coats to an art object.
After many coats, the lacquer is carved, producing unique designs,
patterns, and subjects. One
lacquer, which was prominent throughout China, was cinnabar lacquer. Cinnabar
Lacquer was made by mixing a seemingly innocuous mineral called cinnabar with
lacquer. Cinnabar lacquer was used
on a wide variety of pieces ranging in size from jewelry pieces to large ceramic
or metal vases.
production of a cinnabar lacquer piece is a fascinating and time consuming
process. First, the base work was
produced, whether it was a vase or a box. Next,
layer after layer of cinnabar lacquer was applied.
Often layers would alternate in color to achieve a multicolor effect in
the design, and some pieces would feature more than 300 coats of lacquer.
Each layer would have to dry before a new one was applied, so some pieces
could take months or even years to prepare. Once the lacquer layers had reached
the correct depth, the carving process could begin.