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A round red lacquerware box depicting carved scenes of children playing, from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796), Qing Dynasty of China. In a general sense, lacquer is a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required. The term lacquer originates from the Portuguese word for lac, a type of resin excreted from certain insects.[1] Regardless, in modern usage, lac-based varnishes are referred to as shellac, while lacquer refers to other polymers dissolved in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as nitrocellulose, and later acrylic compounds dissolved in lacquer thinner, a mixture of several solvents typically containing butyl acetate and xylene or toluene. While both lacquer and shellac are traditional finishes, lacquer is more durable than shellac.

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1 Urushiol-based lacquers 2 Nitrocellulose lacquers 3 Acrylic lacquers 4 Water-based lacquers 5 Japanning 6 Japanese lacquer 7 Korea lacquer use 8 See also

plates. varnish resin derived from a tree indigenous to China. durable finishes that are both beautiful and very resistant to damage by water. a mixture of various phenols suspended in water. commonly known as the varnish tree. The Chinese treated the allergic reaction with shell-fish.[2] These lacquers produce very hard. The contemporary theory held that from China. being slow-drying. alkali or abrasion. In order for it to set properly it requires humidity and warm temperature. yielding a substrate that. India Urushiol-based lacquers differ from most others. acid. water-based. The manufacturing process was introduced into Japan and remained secret for centuries. vernicifluum trees causes urushiol-induced contact dermatitis and great care is required in its use. With the discovery of lacquer ware in Japan dating back to Jōmon period. . The process of lacquer application in India is different from China and Japan. is hard and fairly resistant to mechanical stress. music instruments and furniture.[citation needed] According to Encyclopædia Britannica. Lacquer mixed with powdered cinnabar is used to produce the traditional red lacquerware from China. rather than by evaporation alone. Insect lac was introduced to India from Persia (Iran). conflicting theories claim that technology may have been independently developed in Japan. upon proper evaporation of its water content. but the systematic process of application was developed by the Chinese. There are two types of lacquer: one obtained from the T. Vernicifluum tree and the other from an insect. Karnataka. later what was left of the insect was a grease that was used for lacquering objects. and many highly decorated pieces were produced. and from there to Japan. and set by oxidation and polymerisation. Lacquer skills became very highly developed in India and Asia. In India the insect lac was once used from which a red dye was first extracted. Wooden lacquer-finished whistles made in Channapatna. Known applications of lacquer in China included coffins. The fresh resin from the T. species Toxicodendron vernicifluum (formerly Rhus vernicifluum). The phenols oxidize and polymerize under the action of an enzyme laccase. knowledge of lacquer technology was introduced to Korea. plus a few proteins.• 9 References [edit] Urushiol-based lacquers True lacquerwork is Chinese or Japanese in origin. Trade of lacquer objects traveled through various routes to the Middle East. The active ingredient of the resin is urushiol. It was believed that Japan had also been using lacquer from ancient times.

. they do not contain urushiol. 4th century BC. giving red or black depending on the oxide. It sets by a process called "aqua-polymerization". pigments were added to make colours. Unlike Japanese and Chinese Toxicodendron verniciflua resin. but similar substances called "laccol" or "thitsiol". the guqin. Burma and Taiwan. are slightly different.000 years from archeological digs in China. A Chinese lacquer coffin decorated with birds and dragons. There are more than four forms of urushiol which is written as thus: R = (CH2)14CH3 or R = (CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)5CH3 or R = (CH2)7CH=CHCH2CH=CH(CH2)2CH3 or R = (CH2)7CH=CHCH2CH=CHCH=CHCH3 or R = (CH2)7CH=CHCH2CH=CHCH2CH=CH2 and others. absorbing oxygen to set. It is used not only as a finish. The end result is similar but softer than the Chinese or Japanese lacquer. from the State of Chu. There is some evidence that its use is even older than 8. placing in a humid environment (called "furo" or "muro" in Japanese. Burmese lacquer does not cause allergic reactions. Vietnam. it sets slower. the lacquer is mixed with deer horn powder (or ceramic powder) to give it more strength so it can stand up to the fingering. and is painted by craftsmen's hands without using brushes.Lacquer mixed with water and turpentine. Lacquer-yielding trees in Thailand. ready for applying to surface. called Thitsi. Raw lacquer can be "coloured" by the addition of small amounts of iron oxides. The process is called "kanshitsu" in Japan. Advanced decorative techniques using additional materials such as gold and silver powders and flakes ("makie") were refined to very high standards in Japan also after having been introduced from China. In the lacquering of the Chinese musical instrument. it can produce objects without need for another core like wood. The trees must be at least 10 years old before cutting to bleed the resin. Later. but mixed with ground fired and unfired clays applied to a mould with layers of hemp cloth. meaning "a bath" or "a room") allows it to absorb more oxygen from the evaporation of the water.

Enamels. were developed in the 1950s. Acrylic is also used in enamels. more durable. and on musical instruments and other objects. and each coat of lacquer dissolves some of the previous coat.[edit] Nitrocellulose lacquers Ming Dynasty Chinese lacquerware container. Drawbacks of these lacquers include the hazardous nature of the solvent. furniture primarily. is an exceptionally fast drying time. Prior to their introduction. It is extensively used for wooden finishing. Nitrocellulose lacquers produce a very hard yet flexible. are slow drying. volatile and toxic. a bright blue. colour coat and clear topcoat. The preferred method of applying quick-drying lacquers is by spraying. and extensively used in the automobile industry for 30 years. which was recognized by General Motors. durable finish that can be polished to a high sheen. dated 16th century. Lacquer grade of soluble nitrocellulose is closely related to the more highly nitrated form which is used to make explosives. which is flammable. and in colour retention. The nitrocellulose and other resins and plasticizers are dissolved in the solvent. [edit] Water-based lacquers . with Japan Black being the fastest drying and thus most popular. which have the advantage of not needing to be buffed to obtain a shine. [edit] Acrylic lacquers Lacquers using acrylic resin. General Motors Oakland automobile brand automobile was the first (1923) to introduce one of the new fast drying nitrocelluous lacquers. Acrylic resin is colourless. Quick-drying solvent-based lacquers that contain nitrocellulose. and the handling hazards of nitrocellulose in the lacquer manufacturing process. mass produced automotive finishes were limited in colour. produced by DuPont under their Duco tradename. were developed in the early 1920s. weather. These lacquers are also used on wooden products. The use of lacquers in automobile finishes was discontinued when tougher. and the development of nitrocellulose lacquers led to the first extensive use of spray guns.and chemicalresistant two-component polyurethane coatings were developed. transparent thermoplastic. obtained by the polymerization of derivatives of acrylic acid. These lacquers were a huge improvement over earlier automobile and furniture finishes. The advantage of acrylic lacquers. however. a synthetic polymer. both in ease of application. a resin obtained from the nitration of cotton and other cellulostic materials. The system usually consists of a primer. commonly known as clear coat finishes.

The technique. which is used on furniture and other objects. involves applying several coats of varnish which are each heat-dried and polished. which became known as japanning. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 12th13th century. and in many cases. The English novelist George Eliot mentions a "lacker [sic] box" in her novel Silas Marner. The European technique.[citations needed] [edit] Japanning A Chinese six-pointed tray. As Asian and Indian lacquer work became popular in England. [edit] Japanese lacquer Just as "China" is a common name for Chinese ceramic. uses varnishes that have a resin base similar to shellac. Such lacquers are considerably less toxic and more environmentally friendly. [edit] See also • • • Lacquerware Varnish Acetate disc . Water based lacquers are used extensively in wood furniture finishing as well. In the 18th Century this type of lacquering gained a large popular following. France. "Japan" is an old name for Japanese Lacquerware (made from the sap of the Lacquer Tree) and its European imitations. In the 19th and 20th Centuries this lacquering technique evolved into the handicraft of decoupage. from the Song Dynasty (960–1279). much work has gone in to the development of water-based lacquers. There is growing evidence that various lacquered objects were made and sold throughout the region.Due to health risks and environmental considerations involved in the use of solvent-based lacquers. [edit] Korea lacquer use Other numerous lacquered objects of similar time scale have been found in Korea. More and more water-based colored lacquers are replacing solvent-based clear and colored lacquers in underhood and interior applications in the automobile and other similar industrial applications. the Netherlands. produce acceptable results. red lacquer over wood. and Spain in the 17th century the Europeans developed imitations that were effectively a different technique of lacquering.

Fourth Edition. http://dictionary. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Marianne (2000). Vincentz Verlag.[edit] References 1. (1996). ^ lacquer. Henry A.. Lacquer: Technology and Conservation. Suganuma. Butterworth Heinemann. 2008) (accessed: May 05. — A Comprehensive Guide to the Technology and Conservation of Asian and European Lacquer Michiko.A concise compilation of technical terms. Editor. p. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. Dictionary. "Japanese lacquer". Houghton Mifflin Company. Kraus Publications. Hannover. Clark. 2004. Attached is a register of all German terms with their corresponding English terms and vice versa. ISBN 0-7506-4412-5. ISBN 3-87870173-X. Beverly R. .1050 Paolo Nanetti (2006). . The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805–1945. Coatings from A to Z.reference. ^ Britannica Online Encyclopedia: Oriental lacquer • • • • Kimes. in order to facilitate its use as a means for technical translation from one language to the other.