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Lacquer and gold have a deep connection


Lacquerware is known as a container coated with a single color such as vermillion and black. But, there are also many cases where decorating techniques are performed to make lacquerware more vibrant.


Particularly, decorating using gold is a core method in lacquerware. Lacquerware has made unique strides through decorating techniques using gold such as “Makie”, the technique to draw picture by scattering powdered gold, and “chinkin”, the technique to rub gold into the design engraved by carving knives.




Relationship between lacquer and gold
Lacquer and gold are a good match. By highlighting gold in black lacquer, they can be blended into the lacquerware nicely.


Typically, gold itself is used as the main material in the Western world. As in the case of a gold necklace or gold ring, the gold itself is the finished piece of work.


On the other hand, lacquerware cannot be formed by gold alone. Gold is only a part of the design and used as an instrument to highlight the beauty of lacquerware. So, it does not mean that it becomes better with more gold. Only the subtle use of gold can showcase the beauty of lacquerware.


Adhesive power of lacquer
One of the reasons why people started using gold for lacquerware is that “lacquer has a strong adhesive power”. Among the native adhesive agents existing in nature, the adhesive force of lacquer falls under the very strong category.


Due to its characteristics, lacquer has been used to reinforce hunting tools or to repair farm tools for quite some time. It has also been used to repair ceramics and a special technique was established for that purpose.


For your information, the method to put broken ceramics together by lacquer is called “kintsugi”. Ceramics are bonded by lacquer and powdered gold is scattered over the bonded area. Sometimes, the value of ceramics goes up by performing kintsugi. The adhesive technique of lacquer is that astonishing.


Because of this adhesive power of lacquer, it can tightly adhere to gold. Lacquerware and gold are integrated into one by attaching gold and then coating lacquer over it and polishing it over and over again.


Using gold substitutes
Today, sometimes a synthetic resin is used to create lacquerware instead of wood. Also, sometimes a synthetic coating material is used instead of layers of lacquer. Similarly, gold substitutes are used at times.


Using these substitutes can lower the price of lacquerware. Gold is an expensive metal, so substitute powders are used instead.


Even the decorations with gold substitutes can give lacquerware a vivid look. But, compared to real gold, the quality of the radiance and sheen will lessen.


If natural gold is used, its luster will never go away no matter how much time passes. It will not rust nor discolor. However, no matter what superior technologies were used to develop substitutes, unfortunately it is impossible to bring out the same texture as natural gold.

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