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 ◎ History
  According to the records in Han Feizi ·A Chapter on Ten Mistakes, the Emperor Shun used the food containers of lacquer wares, “ when passed down to Emperor Yu, Yu used it as a sacrificial vessel for sacrifice, and cover its outside surface with black lacquer, and cover it inside surface with red lacquer”. It has been proved that there was red lacquer wooden bowl in the Neolithic Period, which is more than seven thousand years ago through the archaeological excavation in Hemudu Site, in Yuyao, Zhejiang province. With this discovery, it can be approved that China is the birthplace of lacquer ware art. Colorful and distinctive culture of lacquer ware has been created for past several thousand years. There were two peaks in the development of Chinese lacquer craft, one is during the period from the warring states period to Han Dynasty, and the other one is during the period from Yuan Dynasty to Qing Dynasty.
  The warring states period is a transition period for Chinese society to change from slavery to feudalism. At that time, the thinking and cultural field was unprecedented active, Confucianism, legalism, Taoism and the School of Logicians developed freely and All schools of thoughts contend for attention. This vivid political and cultural atmosphere also can help to the unprecedented development of lacquer industry. Ramee body to turn out, also known as bodiless, is a great invention in the warring states period. The types of lacquer wares include furniture, vessel, weapon and musical instruments. During this period, very focus on the grow and production of lacquer trees, and specialized officials to manage for them. According to the records in Historical Records·Laozhuang Collected Biographies, Zhuang Zi, Mongolian , named Zhou, used to be an official for the management of Lacquer Park.
  When the development of lacquer entered Han Dynasty, it went through “Rule of Emperors Wen and Jing”and “Great Ages”, the art od lacquer wares created unprecedented achievements. New lacquer wares increased in Han Dynasty, including, ancient cooking vessels, pot, square-mouthed wine vessel, ear cup, paint can, lacquer cosmetic box, lacquer table, lacquer small table and so on. During the three kingdoms period, the mottled flat lacquer ware appeared, which also can be called tiger skin wares or pineapple lacquer.
  From the Control by Zhen Guan on in Tang Dynasty, both economy and culture was thriving and prosperous, and the development of gold and sliver flushing-exposure and mother-of-pearl inlay had reached a very = high leve, with distinctive characteristics of the times. Most lacquer wares in Song Dynasty are simple without many complicated decoration, butt they do much better in their styles and shapes, which fully reflects the rhythmic beauty of ware.
The territory of Yuan dynasty is broader than the one of Han and Tang Dynasty. Dadu of Yuan was one of the two business centers at that time, and there were a great number of craft works, which could rank first in the world. The characteristics of mother-of-pearl lacquer wares is the snail slices changing from thick to thin, to create a new craft of “soft mother-of-pearl”. Beijing gold inlaid lacquer had well-developed in Yuan Dynasty.
  The seeds of capitalism were created in Ming Dynasty, during the period of Emperor Yongle’s reign, the roral family established a specialized official workshop for manufacturing lacquer wares. According the records in Lacquer Decoration Records by Yang Ming in Ming Dynasty, “The techniques of craft today, consider the techniques in Tang Dynasty as an ancient object for following and modeling, Song and Ming as the universal regulations and laws, and they are also made by the craftsmen in the palace workshops named Guo Yuan Chang, which is providing products to the emperor and royal families, there are so many regulations and systems, considered as new types, therefore, there is a rich variety of products, which are very bewildering.”
  There is a period called “the Kangxi-Qianlong prosperity” in Qing Dynasty, the lacquer wares was developing towards the magnificent and resplendent direction, and there were a great number of high quality products at that time. According to the records in Jin’ao Entertainment Notebook by Gao Shiqi in Qing Dynasty: “Flowers and birds are carve with the craft techniques of carving and filling, the colors are filled with colorful lacquer, and then grind them to flat just like a painting, and the colors will be newer as newer with the change of time. The case of lacquer should be small and exquisite, five-colored Ganoderma Lucidum is used as the edges in the part of darker colors, while chevron patterns with gold threads are used as the edges in the part of lighter colors. This lacquer wares have antique flavor, in fact, there is rare lacquer ware like this can be passed down, therefore, their prices are several times higher than carved red lacquer wares. Both those two kinds of products were made by the palace workshops “Guo Yuam Chang”, and people cherish them very much, but it is hard to get one.” In Qing Dynasty, there were 42 specialized “workshops of lacquer” among the palace workshops of Imperial Household Department. The products mainly include carriages, small boats, sedan-chairs, flags, as well as furniture for daily use for royal family and nobles, wares and various objects for decoration.
  Gold inlaid lacquer can be divided into colorful lacquer with gold threads, mother-of-pearl inlay, gold and silver flushing-exposure, and grinding lacquer painting and other types, and the inlaid lacquer has a largest number, mainly includes carriages and horses, flags, royal wares, screens, boards and tablets, tables and chairs and other types, and there are thousands of types. Based on the materials, the inlaid craft can be divided into jade and stone inlay, colorful stone inlay, mother-of-pearl inlay, various treasures inlay. Based on the craft, the inlay can be divided into plate inlay, rectify inlay and three-dimensional. All these crafts can be used independently, also can be used comprehensively, and there is a bit of me in you and a bit of you in me, the art expression is rich and colorful. The splendor of jewels showed through gold inlaid lacquer, can reflect the imposing manner of royal families, and it is also a kind of craft products with high quality and characteristics of Beijing.
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