Introducing the Lacquer (Qi Qi)
Lacquer carving is one of the famous traditional Chinese handicrafts in Beijing. It is presented by painting the objects for multi-layers and carving the lacquer layer to form various patterns. The most commonly used object and color are wood and vermeil. The process of lacquerware making is a quite complicated. Even the most common one needs at least nine procedures, which include body-making, enameling, backing, painting, engraving and polishing. Lacquerware is characterized by thin body, light weight, gorgeous pattern, as well as firmness and durability. Its types range from bottle, pot, box, tray, tea set, smoking set and wine accessories to wall panel, folding screen, wall picture, three-dimensional birds and beasts, and small ornaments.
Traditional Chinese lacquerware has been famous in China for a long time. It was proved to be used as early as more than 4000 years ago. The technique of lacquer carving derived from the Tang Dynasty and experienced improvement in the Ming and Qing Dynasties on the basis of inheriting the styles popular in the previous dynasties. It had the panicle in the Ming Dynasty when the technique reached such a high level that an official lacquer carving workshop was specially established in Beijing, specializing in making lacquerware for the imperial court. After being inherited and developed by handicraftsmen in Beijing, lacquer carving technique attained further improvement and was finally developed to be a kind of industrial arts with distinctive Beijing characteristic. With solemn designs, unpretentious colors and exquisitely engraved decorations, the lacquerware perfectly integrates the fine features of lacquer and the ancient exquisite engraving craftsmanship.