Lịch sử sơn mài

History of Lacquer-ware

History has yet to reveal just how long Asia has been defining and redefining the technique in which lacquer and its byproducts are produced. Popularised during the dynasty periods of India and China, and lacquer ware was later perfected by the early empires of Korea and Japan. Gradually, lacquer ware can perhaps be considered Asia’s most significant contribution to the world of fine art. In fact, each of the Asian countries has contributed, in some way to developing and modernising the technique and popularity of crafting lacquer ware. And today most countries around the world have made their own attempt to reproduce the ancient art.

Lacquer-ware in Vietnam

In Phu Tho province, located in the heart of Northern Vietnam, there is a tradition of harvesting lacquer which dates back more than twenty centuries. It is here that the early Vietnamese artisans discovered how to use the juices derived from the Rhus Succedanea Tree, a sumac of South East Asia, and how to convert the oleo-resins into a slow drying natural lacquer which can be used to protect delicate paintings and other forms of art. Obtaining the lacquer and crafting lacquer ware is a process that requires knowledge, patience, ingenuity and foresight. The final product must be pleasing to the eye and not lack in quality of design, usefulness and durability. A well-crafted lacquer ware product should be able to last as long as the tradition that built it.