Green lacquerware

DIA200xH150mm, Myanmar

ASIAN FOLKCRAFT COLLECTION
SOIL X MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT

It is almost certain that Burma acquired the technique of lacquer production from China where it has a three-thousand year history. However, the use of lacquerware was not confined to royalty and the monkhood in Burma. Lacquer objects were used daily by commoners. Food, refreshments, clothing, cosmetics and flowers are all put in lacquer receptacles.

The importance of lacquer to the Burmese is probably equivalent to the modern uses of porcelain, glass and plastic combined. Indeed, lacquer has many of the characteristics of modern plastic. It is light, waterproof, easily moulded and dries to a hard state.  It can be applied to virtually any surface: plain or carved wood, bamboo, paper, fabric, even metal and stone.

This fruit bowl is made by coiled bamboo, covered by over 20 layers of lacquer and decorated with the Burmese astrological symbols. Process of producing green lacquer ware is rather time consuming: One part indigo was added to ten parts of orpiment to produce a traditional green color. With age, many such green lacquer wares have come to assume appeasing opaque turquoise hue.

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