Lacquered items have been
found in ancient tombs in Vietnam dating as far back as the third and fourth
centuries B.C. Over the centuries, Vietnamese master craftsmen and
artists have mastered techniques using lacquer for purpose of decoration and
preservation. Lacquer paintings now can compete successfully with silk
and oil paintings and have the unique character of this style of painting.
traditionally comes in three colors - brown, black and vermilion. By
the 1930s, artists started to use a new technique known as chiseling which
gives a richer mix of colors and an added sense of size and distance..
is done on wood. It is covered with a piece of cloth glued to it using
the sap of the lacquer tree and then coated with a layer of the sap mixed
with earth. The board is then sand papered and recoated with a layer
of hot sap. After polishing, this gives a smooth black surface with a
uses hot lacquer to draw the outline of a picture and the colors are applied
one by one, layer upon layer. Each coat dries slowly.
touches consist of polishing and washing the pictures. This process
may seem like brutal treatment for a work of art, but it is done with great
care. This process leaves a brilliant surface on a painting.
Through years of experience and experimentation, the artists use the
addition of other substances such as plant material ash, crushed eggshells,
gold and silver to embelish their works. These additional substances help
the modern artists to express themselves fully and to further add creativity
and individuality of style to their art works