Xiamen Lacquer Thread Sculpture

 Xiamen Lacquer Thread Sculpture



Lacquer thread sculpture is a unique folk craftwork with a history as long as 300 years in Xiamen. The craft appeared around the early 17th century and matured 300 years later. Deriving from ancient Buddhist sculpture, the development of lacquer thread sculpture is attributed to the prevalence of Buddhism in Xiamen and the thriving market of Buddhist sculpture.

The craft of traditional lacquer thread sculpture includes sculpture, foundation make-up, the decoration of the lacquer thread and covering the thread with gold and filling in the colour. Although the sculpture is the ultimate result, the art of lacquer thread decoration has a great influence on what the lacquer thread sculpture will finally look like aesthetically.

Traditional lacquer thread sculptures are made of old brick powder, lacquer and cooked Chinese wood oil. The materials are pestled into a soft 'mud' pie with good elasticity. This 'mud' pie is twined into lacquer threads by hand and applied to a brick base covered with foundation lacquer to form various embossed designs. So this handicraft is the soul of the lacquer thread sculpture.

In recent years, lacquer thread sculptures have been applied to plates, vases, stoves and other stoneware and glass vessels. But due its complexity, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find people willing to learn the craft nowadays.