Lacquer oriental

DEFINITION

A material for a kind of sculpture in which layers are built up, often on a base of silk around a model of another material, typically plain or carved wood. When hard, those carefully cured layers can be carved. Also, used as a varnish, it gives any surface it covers a hard, highly polished finish. It is found on items imported from Asia, but is rarely available for use in the West. Oriental lacquer is produced from the resin (sap) of certain trees in the Far East (in China and Japan this tree is a sumac, Rhus vernicifera, aka Rhus verniciflua), and can be used on many different materials. Lacquer can carry several pigments, but red, black, or a combination were used most frequently. Lacquer has extraordinary adhesive qualities; once cured, it is virtually impervious to moisture, alcohol, food acids, or decay.(pr. O-ree-EN-təl LA-kər)Examples of oriental lacquer:China, Tea bowl stand, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), brown lacquer on wood and fabric, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA.China, Seven-lobed platter with scene of children at play, Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), 14th century, carved red lacquer, diameter 21 7/8 inches (55.6 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Chinese art.Also see chinoiserie, kanshitsu, lacquer, and shellac.

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