China Cinnabar Red Lights
The long cultural and artistic history of China has produced a wide range of original and significant artistic achievements. One that is quickly recognized, cinnabar lacquer, with its characteristic red color, sometimes called the red Chinese lacquer red or vermilion.
With its 5,000 years long history, we must go back in time through some 2300 years, where the first record of the cinnabar lacquer used.
Cinnabar lacquer developed into an important artistic community of the sixth century BC to second century AD At the beginning of this period, the coating also produced not only red but black, the use of carbon as a coloring agent and the 'orpiment, a naturally occurring mineral that results in a canary yellow paint. These three paint colors were used mainly for the color of the surface vessels and sculptures.
The feature carved cinnabar, which we recognize today, first appeared in the 12th century as a new kind of luxury items. Cinnabar as a decorative art has been and is used in many Asian cultures, however, carved red cinnabar is unique to China.
What exactly is cinnabar?
Cinnabar lacquer pigment is derived from a tree native to southern China, the Chinese Sumac (Rhus verniciflua), usually referred to as the tree of the Lake.
The painting itself is produced by a process of writing a log as the rubber tree. Small cuts are made in the trunk of the tree and the water collected by the fall in a jar.
This varnish is a fantastic material that hardens when exposed to air and becomes a natural plastic that is water resistant and can withstand the heat. (Lacquers refers to any surface that was coated with lacquer, resulting in a hard and durable surface.)
The first layer is, in this case, not the last! Lakes can sometimes take up to 200 floors! As each layer dries, the next level is applied to the desired thickness is achieved. When the last layer is air-dried, the second phase of the deeply carved decoration begins
The sculpture is made by a skilled craftsman with a sharp cutting tool begins the slow process of carving the surface of paint undecorated object.
The line of sculptural decoration is of course in traditional Chinese style with a range of subjects including, flowers, peony, court scenes, the Chinese gardens, statues of scholars and birds in the branches. Many of these decorative items are prohibited, having been used for hundreds of years.
Lacquer carving techniques include embossing, cutting and true sculpture. The final results of the three techniques come together "carved lacquer." This may include relief carving, negative engraving, and carving freestyle.
What makes red cinnabar?
Cinnabar carved lacquer, which is mostly red. In fact, the term, cinnabar is the name of a natural mineral pigments, mercuric sulphide, which gives the red color. The name of the pigment that gives the name, cinnabar. A dark red, iron oxide is added to the lacquer, a rich dark lacquer production. Cinnabar is usually found in massive, granular, crystal-like shape and bright red to brick red.
All lacquerware need underlying form and, traditionally, cinnabar lacquer pigment has a wooden base, but modern goods, boxes, trays, vases, etc. has a copper base. Carved lacquer are several layers of pigmented paint on the work surface, usually about 30 to 40 layers, but it can go up to 200 layers, if necessary.
Cinnabar lacquer museum is a piece as large beds, armchairs and huge screens, about 500 layers of lacquer Cinnabar. It is estimated that some of these great pieces of furniture have up to ten years to stop!
In ancient China, and in today's China, red is a color very favorable. It is considered a warm and energetic, which symbolizes good luck. Red is used in many aspects of life such as cultural ceremonies, weddings, anniversaries and especially in the Chinese New Year. Cinnabar lamp, placed in a prominent position, a color not to be missed!