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Cinnabar Lacquerware

Lacquerware is an ancient art that has been practiced by the Chinese for thousands of years, dating back to the Neolithic age. Lacquer, a means of decorating wooden objects, was used for bowls, cabinets, tableware, tables, chairs, and more. Despite its common usage, creating lacquer is extremely time-consuming and demands great care.

Lacquerware is created from the toxic sap of the Rhus Vernicflua tree, also referred to as the Chinese lacquer tree. This sap is then applied by brush onto a wooden object in a thin layer and left to dry slowly in a warm humidified cabinet. This process is repeated at least 30 times to form a hard water-resistant coating on the wood. The lacquer is then either carved into a 3-D design, or inlaid with mother of pearl or other materials including different woods, stones, or metals.

The carving of lacquer works, generally known as Cinnabar lacquerware, is specifically unique to China. The use of powdered mercury sulfide gives cinnabar lacquerware the reddish color for which these works were named. In order to create these carved cinnabar lacquer works, makers will apply between 30 to 300 layers of lacquer in order to later carve intricate designs depicting famous allegories or scenes from nature. Some designs carved into the lacquer are filled with other materials like gold.


Quick Facts

  • Creating one simple lacquerware product like a bowl, due to the time-consuming process, could take several weeks or months
  • Like poison ivy, contact to liquid lacquer would cause a rash. As a result, liquid lacquer had to be handled very carefully
  • It wasn’t until after 247 B.C. that lacquerware became inlaid or intricately carved with designs

Recommended Items at Auction

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Cinnabar carved lacquer snuffb
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
Cinnabar carved lacquer snuffb
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
A KONSTANTIN GORBATOV RUSSIAN OIL PAINTING
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
A KONSTANTIN GORBATOV RUSSIAN OIL PAINTING
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$100 Bids
Cinnabar carved lacquer replic
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
Cinnabar carved lacquer replic
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€5000 Bids
Chinese Natural Cinnabar Stone Original Stone Statue
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Chinese Natural Cinnabar Stone Original Stone Statue
by Quan Rong Gallery
Est: $600- $800
$1890 Bids
China, Cinnabar lacquer tray, vintage. Ming Sizes: L =94mm l =83mm Weight (K): 0,81kg
Oct 31, 10:00 AM CET
China, Cinnabar lacquer tray, vintage. Ming Sizes: L =94mm l =83mm Weight (K): 0,81kg
by Goldfield Auction
Est: €400- €800
€4000 Bids
SQUARE BOTTLE
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
SQUARE BOTTLE
by Hardt Auctions GmbH
Est: €400- €500
€3000 Bids
CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER PLATE
Nov 06, 9:00 AM EDT
CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER PLATE
by Ander's Auction
Est: $350- $450
$1750 Bids
A Chinese carved cinnabar lacquer brush and cover
Nov 10, 10:30 AM GMT
A Chinese carved cinnabar lacquer brush and cover
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,0000 Bids
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Floral Bowl
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Floral Bowl
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $6,000- $12,000
$1,0000 Bids
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Landscape Plate
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Landscape Plate
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $500- $1,500
$1000 Bids
Two Carved Cinnabar Lacquer Landscape Vases and Covers
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
Two Carved Cinnabar Lacquer Landscape Vases and Covers
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $500- $1,500
$1000 Bids
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Landscape&Figure Garlic-Head Vase
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Landscape&Figure Garlic-Head Vase
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $12,000- $25,000
$3,0000 Bids
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Figure&Landscape Box and Cover
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
Carved Cinnabar Lacquerware Figure&Landscape Box and Cover
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $6,000- $12,000
$1,0000 Bids
CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER VASE
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER VASE
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $800- $1,200
$2000 Bids
A LACQUER BRONZE CONTAINER
Nov 06, 12:00 PM PDT
A LACQUER BRONZE CONTAINER
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$5000 Bids
Two Chinese Carved Red Cinnabar Pieces
Nov 14, 1:00 PM EST
Two Chinese Carved Red Cinnabar Pieces
by Coral Gables Auction
Est: $200- $300
$250 Bids
CARVED CINNABAR LACQUERWARE FIGURE POCKET-FORM BOX AND COVER
Nov 13, 12:00 PM PST
CARVED CINNABAR LACQUERWARE FIGURE POCKET-FORM BOX AND COVER
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $3,000- $7,000
$5000 Bids
A CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER WOOD STAND.
Nov 18, 11:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER WOOD STAND.
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £3,000- £5,000
£3,0000 Bids
Carved Cinnabar Lacquer Taotie Jue Cup
Nov 05, 3:00 PM PDT
Carved Cinnabar Lacquer Taotie Jue Cup
by China Arts Auction
Est: $600- $900
$2000 Bids
A Pair of Chinese Cinnabar Vases
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
A Pair of Chinese Cinnabar Vases
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $500- $5,000
$5000 Bids
A Vintage Chinese Cinnabar Style Vase
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
A Vintage Chinese Cinnabar Style Vase
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $75- $750
$700 Bids
A Cinnabar Resin Round Box
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
A Cinnabar Resin Round Box
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $175- $1,750
$1750 Bids
a Lacquer Stacking Box
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
a Lacquer Stacking Box
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Cinnabar Lacquerware


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Jumbo Auction House

Jumbo Auction House

China Arts Auction

China Arts Auction

Bonhams

Bonhams