"Huizhou Lacquer Painting and Decoration Technique" was included in the national intangible culture heritage catalogue on June 7th, 2008.
Huizhou Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with the raw lacquer that is produced in Huizhou. The lacquer is sometimes inlaid or carved. Huizhou Lacquerware includes furniture, containers, daily necessities and a variety of works.
Huizhou lacquer workmanship has a history of more than one thousand years. Of Huizhou Lacquerware, Luodian Lacquer was called “Songqian” in the Song Dynastry, while Boluo Lacquer was once offered as a tribute in the Southern Song Dynasty. The lacquer crafts technology had experienced unprecedented development both in the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, when a variety of technologies flourished and contended for originality and elegance, such as lacquer carving, lacquer painting, Jin lacquer (the lacquer produced in Jinzhou, normally refers to high quality lacquer), carved and filled-in lacquer, Qiangjin lacquer (gold-embedded lacquer), Luodian lacquer and hundreds of kinds of treasure embedded lacquer crafts. The book A Record of Lacquer Painting and Decoration written by Huizhou lacquer crafts worker Huang Cheng in the Ming Dynasty is the only monograph on lacquer technology passed down from ancient China.
During the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, as a lot of Huizhou merchants went to Yangzhou to do business, many lacquer craftsmen also went there, which contributed to the development of the famous Yangzhou lacquer crafts. Since the period of the Republic of China, as Tunxi has gradually becomes the political, economic and cultural center of Huizhou district, many shops move to Tunxi and craftsmen transfer their business to Tunxi. The lacquer crafts business is no exception. Therefore, Tunxi becomes the lacquer craft-making center.
In 1959, a few lacquer craftsmen from Tunxi Craft Factory went to Beijing and worked out the lacquer-drawing screen entitled “A Picture of A Hundred Children” for the Anhui Hall of the Great Hall of People. In 1978, Huizhou lacquer craftsman Yu Jinhai successfully replicated the long-lost lacquer sand ink-stone, which Lai Shaoqi spoke highly of as “extraordinary as if done by the nature.” The writer Duanmu Hongliang honored Yu Jinhai as “the national craftsman of the central Chinese lacquer.”
The technologies of “Huizhou Lacquer Crafts Painting and Decoration” mainly include five categories, i.e. embedding, carving, gold-tracing and color painting, grinding, and embossed lacquer. Luodian lacquer crafts take bamboo, wood, gold, silver and tin etc. as the main material which will be covered with lacquer of different colors. The color pearly shells, color stones, gold, silver and copper are processed through carving or engraving techniques into colorful and gorgeous decoration patterns.
The color painting category is renowned for “bodiless lacquer crafts”, which is shaped by wooden mould. First, a layer of ramie is bound on the wooden mould, and then it will be shaped by the lacquer ashes. When the model is dry, the wooden mould will be removed. The shaped shell will be painted with lacquer for several times and finally finished with color painting.
The grinding lacquer category is renowned for “Boluo lacquer crafts” and “lacquer sand ink-stone.” The “Boluo lacquer crafts” refer to the Huizhou lacquer crafts mainly made out of the Huizhou raw lacquer together with a special lacquer which is a mixture of powder of turquoise, cinnabar, coral, realgar, qingjilan (nonferrous mine with the blue color like the blood veins) etc.; which “lacquer sand ink-stone” is the Huizhou lacquer ink-slab which takes quality wood as the interior body and superior raw lacquer as the raw material and is mixed with porcelain powder or ground emery etc.
There are more than 300 categories of Huizhou lacquer crafts, which mainly include single hanging screen embedded with color stone, rows of screen, folding screen and bookcase etc. in the past, there were mainly two colors, one being red and the other black. Nowadays there is a variety of colors including red, black, sky blue, dark green, light green, cream, rust red, cinnabar red, light purple and pure white etc., which exhibits extraordinary elegance and dazzling beauty.