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Red River Blog

Lacquerware Production

Lacquerware Production

All about the intricate processes involved in the the production of the Lacquerware in our range

First of all what is lacquer?

All the varied uses of lacquer are based on the resin of a tree called Gluta Usitata. The resin is harvested from the tree by tapping in the same manner as rubber.

The main raw material is bamboo split into thin strips.  The soft uncrackable lacquerware is made up of loose horse hair and bamboo strips.  The white body woven of bamboo strips is applied with lacquer by hand.  Once the first application is complete the body must be dried in an underground cellar in dark and humid conditions for seven days to ten days.  When it is dried it is taken out of the cellar for the next coating.  It is well polished and washed to get a smooth surface before the next coating.

All of our supplier’s products are coated 8 times with lacquer  as the number of times this is done determines the quality of the finished article

Next step is making the design on it.  The stylus is held in the right hand and is pushed across the surface to be engraved with the left thumb.  The majority of the design is done free hand and seemingly entirely from memory.

The natural colour powder (basically red, yellow, blue and green) is applied to the outside of the black body using a piece of cotton and then rubbed into the engraved surface.  When finished the stuff is once again returned to the cellar to dry for seven days after which it is mounted on the lathe and rubbed with a handful of wet rice husks.  This removes the colouring from the surface except where it is embedded in the engraved design.  For every colour on it it is placed into the cellar for drying.

All of our supplier’s products are takes at least four to six months to complete.  The lacquerware products produced by their workshop are water and heat proof.  In addition they are insect and bacterial resistant.


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