A Japanese wakazashi (short sword) of middle to late Edo period with fuchi-kashira showing a kabuto, the tsuba with silver flowers in relief, the blade with visible temper line, black lacquered scabbard. Length 57.5 cm
lacquer. Lacquer work originated in the Far East, principally China and Japan, and was most widely used in that part of the world. It consists of several layers of the resin from the "Chinese lacquer tree", Rhus vernicifera, which gows in China and Japan. Once the resin has been processed and air dried, it forms a hard smooth and almost impermeable surface. Once applied by a brush to a wood or composition base in very thin layers, the surface is then decorated and inlaid with different materials.
Chinese lacquer was first imported into Europe around 1600 and became popular in England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. Its popularity was such, that it was imitated by the Europeans, who used a technique known as "Japanning". The "oriental" scenes onsome European lacquer work is naïve, and the quality is not as high as on the original.
The words "lacquered finish" may also refer to a finish comprising polymers dissolved in compounds such as nitrocellulose applied to a modern product, usually by spraying, The modern chemical based lacquers are much more durable than those of past years.
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