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The art of lacquerware

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Lacquerware is a famous local craft that has developed over time into an art form of refined quality.

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lacquerware items

The lacquerware craftsmanship originally came from China in the 1st century AD.

Traditionally extraordinary fine lacquerware bowls were produced with a combination of horsehair and bamboo to make them very flexible.

Lacquer-ware is crafted from a mixture of the juice of the Thitsi tree and ash applied on the surface of objects such as woven bamboo or wood.

A multicoloured lacquerware item takes approximately 6 months to complete. This is because the entire process involves more than a dozen of steps to complete. Successive layers of lacquerware are applied to the object to eliminate irregularities and then dried several days. When fully dry, the surface is polished to a smooth finish, and ornamental and figurative designs are added to enhance the lacquerware.

Basically, dried lacquerware is black and to give a touch of colour cheap items are simply painted, while expensive items are embellished by means of engraving, painting and polishing. The most usual colours are red, black, green and yellow.

Lacquerware is found in Thailand and Laos, but the best examples are crafted in the villages around Bagan in Burma.

A lacquerware workshop

A lacquerware workshop