Lacquer Paintings

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Lacquer paintings are ancient paintings that regained their popularity in the world art scene for the last decade. Vietnam and Burma are two main producers of this distinctive art. The two countries were just recently opened up to tourism and started exhibiting their highly skilled artists.

Vietnamese and Burmese Lacquer methods are very old. In Vietnam , Lacquer arts have been found in tombs in more than 2,300 years ago while prehistoric inscriptions around Burmese city Bagan have shown Lacquer way back 11th century.

This kind of painting involves much more process than those traditional oil or watercolor form. To create a Lacquer painting, the artist must use sap from Lacquer trees to hold a cloth covering onto their wooden canvas. They will paint the outlines of the picture in hot Lacquer and put the colors one layer at a time, letting each dry out before putting the nest color. Modern lacquer artists in Vietnam have learned to use other substances like crushed egg shells, gold foil and plants into their artwork allowing them to come up with a unique and fascinating expression of creativity.

On the other hand, in Burma, using of gold foil was already used in lacquer ware centuries ago but usually this way of making lacquer was only reserve for royal paintings as well as religious art. Other materials like animal bone, colored glass and bamboo are also used depending on where the lacquer designs are applied to. Colored glass is being used into lacquer paintings of thrones, Buddhist images, caskets and others alike while bamboo is their favorite choice in lacquer paintings that depicted vases, tables, chairs and chest.

For the past years, most of the people in Bagan have been involved in lacquer ware, passing the tradition down through the years. At present there is a government-sponsored institution in Began that is dedicated in recruiting and giving training to lacquer ware artists and the demand for Burmese and Vietnamese lacquer ware in the West countries continue to rise.

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