Carved lacquerware is praised as a wonder among the eightwonders in Beijing. It began in Tang Dynasty and thrivedin Ming and Qing Dynasties, having a history of more than 1000 years. It was once the royal palace art, and later wastransported to Beijing along with the royal family of Ming Dynasty. Zhang Degang was invited to Beijing by Zhu Li, one emperor of Ming Dynasty.He set up the lacquerware workshop and enabled the lacquerware carving to takea root in Beijing and gradually form the Beijing lacquerware carving.
The making process of lacquerware is complex: the natural lacquer (also known as raw lacquer), natural Tung oil and mineral pigment are made into clearlacquer via refining in high temperature; then, the clearlacquer is coated layer by layer onto the object model;thickness of 0.1cm can be obtained after 16 layers of painting.For common lacquerware, more than hundred days are required only for the lacquer painting. After completion of lacquer painting, the pattern shall be rubbed onto the object and carving shall be conducted by knife; after that, grinding and polishing shall be carried out one year later after complete hardening.Apiece of lacquerware can be finished after two years work. The shape of lacquerware is simple, unsophisticated and solemn, the pattern is exquisite, having bright luster and elegance in shape, and it has thecharacteristics of moisture proof, heat resisting, acids and alkaline resistance, no deforming, no quality changes.
At present, two artwork firms are making their efforts to collect the lacquerware masters to explore the protection and development of Beijing lacquerware carving.