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Xiamen lacquer thread sculpture technique

xiamen.chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: May 6, 2019


Lacquer thread sculpture is a traditional artware in East China which uses well-tempered lacquer threads to build decorative patterns.

The main material of lacquer thread sculpture is the mixture of lacquer, the special brick powder and boiled tung oil. After beating the mixture and twisting it into a string, the craftsmen coil, entangle, pile, carve and engrave on the sculpture which is then coated with primer.

The technique's development depended on flourishing folk religions and the Buddhist sculpture tradition. As a legacy of the color sculpture of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was inspired by the thread sculpture technology of the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368), especially the process of leaching powder and clay thread sculpture.

The lacquer thread sculpture technique was formed in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties (1368-1911). It has four major steps: sculpture, foundation coating, lacquer thread decoration and gilding the surface. It focuses on the aesthetic characteristics of the lacquer thread itself, and demonstrates the evolution of the use of line in Chinese arts and crafts.