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Pingyao varnished lacquerware

Updated:2021-04-29 14:53
( chinadaily.com.cn)

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Artist Xue Shengjin paints patterns on Pingyao varnished lacquerware. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]

Pingyao varnished lacquerware took shape in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). By the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Pingyao lacquerware had formed a relatively complete production process and was famous for its hand-polished style. 

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Pingyao varnished lacquerware is famous for its gloss polished by hand. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]

Pingyao lacquerware, now one of China's four famous lacquerware -- along with Beijing lacquerware, Fujian lacquerware and Yangzhou lacquerware -- was sold by Shanxi merchants to the United Kingdom and Russia in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Pingyao varnished lacquerware features a simple and graceful appearance, shining and magnificent exteriors, fine and smooth textures, heat and moisture resistance and durability. 

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An artist inlays Pingyao varnished lacquerware with mussel shells, snails and colored stones. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]

The lacquer used in Pingyao varnished lacquerware is very sophisticated. It grows on the Loess Plateau and is scraped off from the bark of the pulp and then refined with natural tung oil to make a topcoat, which is environmentally friendly and corrosion resistant.

The production of lacquerware is divided into five procedures including preparing the wood, an ash base, lacquering, painting and inlay. 

After meticulous and exquisite craftsmanship, the landscapes, flowers and birds, pavilions and character stories can be vividly shown on the screens, jewelry boxes, cabinets, furniture and handicrafts.

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