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The production technology of lacquer engraving

Date:2014年3月10日 17:35

Lacquer engraving is a technique using natural paint to smear over the conceptus to a certain thickness, then use knife to carve designs over the paint smeared conceptus. Due to different colors, there are also different names like “red lacquer ware carving”, “black lacquer ware carving”, “colored lacquer ware carving” and “marbled lacquer ware carving”. The modelling of Beijing lacquer ware carving is plain and solemn, with delicate and exquisite pattern and decoration, bright and smooth luster, elegant shape and with features of damp proof, heat resistant, acid and alkali resistant, no deformation and no deterioration. Lacquer engraving is an important category in Chinese Paint technique, and also one of the essences of Beijing traditional craft art. It represents the excellent skills, intelligence and wisdom of the craft artists in our country. It is a treasure of Chinese traditional crafts. Lacquer engraving enjoys the equal fame as cloisonné, ivory carving and jade carving, and it is praised as one of the “Four famous characters” in Beijing craft art.

The process of Bejing lacquer engraving is very complicated, there are more than 10 working procedures including design, conceptus preparation, painting, pattern drawing, engraving and polishing, etc., the technical requirements for each procedure are very high. Among these working procedures, engraving is the most important. In the past, the cutting way was mainly of engraving on a same level, while now there are also relief carving, hollow out carving, three-dimensional round carving and so on.  The color matching of lacquer engraving is also very exquisite. It used to be with only four colors of black, red, yellow and green, now it has developed to be with more than 20 colors with white, apricot yellow, tea red, pink and so on. Each works has developed from a single color in the past to today’s several sets of colors. All the products are with features of damp proof, heat resistant, acid and alkali resistant, no deformation and no deterioration, thus are deeply favored by people.

The lacquer engraving mainly refers to red lacquer ware carving and black lacquer ware carving, while the colored lacquer ware carving including black flowers with red background, red flowers with black background, red flower with yellow background, red flower with green background and the three color of yellow, green and red lacquer carving are also common. The producing procedure and techniques of lacquer engraving products are:

1. Design
It will be carried out according to customers’ requirements or designer’s creative idea. Specifically, there are two kinds of designs: one is modelling design, like vase, pot, box and disk, etc. now there has also developed with practical items like furniture, three-dimensional animals, etc. Another is the pattern design, according to the modelling features to design the appearance patterns like mountains and rivers, human characters, flowers and birds, dragon and phoenix, etc.

2. Conceptus preparation
Conceptus preparation refers to producing the model shape according to modelling design. Before liberation, Beijing lacquer engraving inherited the traditional techniques of Ming and Qing dynasties and used wooden, tin and shedding conceptus. After liberation, Beijing lacquer engraving mainly used copper for conceptus, the internal surface are used with enamel glaze. The furniture and three-dimensional animals are adopting wooden or shedding conceptus, besides they use black back light lacquer for internal surface. In this way, it is not only beautiful but also can prevent the conceptus modelling from damp and degeneration.

3. Lac varnish
Lac varnish refers to smearing paint repeatedly over the prepared conceptus. After the first layer of paint becomes dry in shade, then paint the second layer, repeat in this way till reach the thickness required by techniques. Generally, the products will be smeared with several layers of paint and with a thickness around 6mm.

4. Drawing
Drawing refers to draw the design patterns and decorations on the conceptus after lac varnish process. The major tool for the drawing is brush pen. It is required to make sure of smooth lines and clear patterns while drawing, and try best to keep the original design patterns. For the relatively larger batch of products, the method of plate-making copy can be adopted, but there needs to be additional drawing to achieve the required effect.

5. Engraving
The engraving can be carried out after the patterns and decorations have been drawn. Engraving is an important part in making lacquer engraving products. Its artistry is expressed through the engraving skills. The main tools for engraving are the carving knives of various sizes and shapes. The basic carving methods are very complicated, it is not like an artist’s pen which can show flying dragon and dancing phoenix, with ink splashing and color spreading, free without any limitation. The engraving must make sure well-arrangement, nimble carving method. The bottom should be levelling, the lines should be delicate and the brocade patterns should be equally distributed and meticulous.

6. Drying and polishing
After engraving procedure put the vessels in the drying room to dry up and make them solid. The polishing requires the luster should be bright and smooth, and not showing the carving trace. After polishing, then a lacquer engraving art ware is finished completely. There are near one thousand kinds of lacquer engraving, mainly including vase, pot, box, disk, cigarette utensil, tea ware, wine set, furniture, lamps and lanterns, stationery, hanging screen, folding screen, insert screen, wall painting, furnace, tripod, Xun, kettle and three-dimensional bird, animal, Buddha, maiden, modern people, small pieces of jewelries and pearls, etc.

The lacquer engraving style is with exquisite engraving skills, unique modelling, classical and elegant taste, rich and colorful varieties, full of changes. It shows a special effect in displaying character image, layers and depth of the sceneries both inside and outside of the room.

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