Behind the Designs: Lacquerware
Have you ever admired a piece of lacquered homeware, art, or other good and wondered what gives it is beautiful shine? Maybe you’re unsure what lacquer is. The process of lacquering an item is actually quite interesting and gives products a beautiful and protective finish. Keep reading to learn more about the creation of lacquerware and how our lacquer home accessories are handmade.
Lacquer is a water and acid-resistant wood finish. Researchers say that some of the earliest lacquered pieces found in China date back to the Neolithic Era, which began in 10,000 B.C. Lacquering started in East Asia when people began extracting sap from the Rhus verniciflua tree, which is commonly found in the region.
The early approach to lacquering involved taking sap from the trees each year by cutting notches into their trunks. People then used low-level heat to remove impurities and excess moisture from the sticky substance.
After applying a thin layer of lacquer to an item, people would place the product into a warm and humid closed cabinet to cure it. As time passed, lacquering methods became more labor-intensive and elaborate. They entailed adding substances like charcoal to the lacquer for color or including mother-of-pearl inlays. Some crafts-persons even painted on so many coats of lacquer that the resulting finish was thick enough to carve designs into it.
The first lacquered items reached Europe from East Asia by the 16th century. They became so desired by the continent’s residents that Asian creators began making lacquered items specifically for export. European buyers especially liked lacquered cabinets with internal drawers, plus dividing screens they could use to separate large rooms into sections.
Lacquer has a long history, and it’s easy for you to cherish the ancient tradition. Every piece in Caspari’s lacquerware collection is handcrafted by Vietnam by dedicated people who use the same traditional techniques that produced pretty, durable items throughout history.
The providers of the lacquer for our items harvest the tree sap, plus sand and cut the wooden bases attached to the products. You can quickly see and appreciate the careful and handmade approach applied to these gorgeous, distinctive pieces.
We work with lacquer artisans who thoughtfully apply Caspari artwork to the wood, along with gold-leaf and hand painted accents. The numerous coats of high-gloss lacquer applied to finish the piece have a sealing effect that ensures you’ll get plenty of enjoyment from it.
A staple of our lacquerware collection, decorative serving trays, have 12 layers of lacquer for excellent durability. They feature cutout handles help you carry drinks or snacks and swiftly serve them to guests. Many of our trays have intricately decorated surfaces, which feature artwork from artists and museums from around the world. For example, our Hummingbird Trellis Vanity Tray is adorned with painted hummingbirds, flowers, and vines from the collections of Chatsworth House. These pieces are a practical and affordable way to display fine art in your home.
This year, we expanded our lacquer collection to include new tray shapes and small home décor items. Tissue box covers and wastebaskets enhance the powder room, trays and coaster sets add sine to the coffee table, and our lacquer side tables can be placed in nearly any space.
As always, lacquered table accessories remain a staple in our collections. The classic Caspari pattern “Modern Marble” is a best-selling lacquer look and received a new look this year. Moonlight Marble lacquer items feature the same beautiful print with a new warmer finish. The golden cast of these designs add even more elegance. Find placemats, coasters, and trays in this chic print.
Explore our collection of lacquerware for the whole home and add artistic shine to any space.