Finding the beautiful soul of lacquer

Existing in Vietnam for centuries, lacquer art potentially offers great value for modern life. Let’s find out the mystery language of expression in the latest lacquer furniture line from Hanoia.

In Vietnam, the very first footprints of lacquer can be traced back hundreds of years ago. In the Dinh dynasty (930-950), Vietnamese people used resin of Rhus succedaneum tree to paint boats. After that, throughout Le, Ly, Tran dynasties, many conserved relics, wooden statues were painted in red and covered in gold. It was not until the era of King Le Nhan Tong (1443-1460), Tran Lu (also known as Tran Thuong Cong) was recognized as the inventor of this profession. His students travelled to many places to set up their workshops. Talented artisans were recruited by the royal family to decorate the interior of the royal palace. That’s the reason why Hue is the place where the footprints and lacquer artifacts are best conserved.

Nowadays, Vietnamese lacquer art still keeps its core spirit, distinguished characteristics and is adapted to response to the modern lifestyle. Not only used to decorate the praying space, the horizontal lacquered board, the distich in the royal palace, temple and tomb,…lacquer has penetrated into each Vietnamese family and harmoniously blended into modern life with rich colors and diverse forms.

In the same way, the premium handicraft brand, Hanoia approaches lacquer art to design and create furniture products serving the demand of societies.

Stand out from other products in the market, this line utilises delicate craftsmanship to ensure beauty, durability and steadiness of each product. For example, the exceptional carpentry skills of artisans create strong structure, beautiful curves, accurate joins and unified wood pattern with lacquer. Mechanical engineering together with metal and lacquer are uniquely expressed in some products to realize revolutionary design ideas from designers.

However, the most valuable feature is the lacquer technique which creates a wide range of effects, such as Scratch Sanding Effect with 5 impressive color hues, Mother of Pearl Inlay- Color Dyeing Technique carrying the mystic beauty of Milky Way, Fan-shaped Veneer Inlay Technique or the Dyeing Effect that reveals wooden pattern on wide surface,…. These complex techniques researched and developed by Hanoia require skillful hands and great attention from artistic eyes of artisans to apply.

The process of crafting lacquer furniture is extremely complicated. Hanoia’s artisans need to integrate many stages together. Such as in making the sofa couch, the wooden structure, cushion and fabric have to ensure accuracy to the centimeter in order to fit the lacquer piece on the back with the arm of the couch. Or with veneer inlay table, each piece of wood needs to be exactly the same to achieve a unified table surface. Every mismatch will lead to reconstruction.

The love and patience that artisans put into their work is immeasurable. Each painting layer needs to be grinded thinner. There isn’t a formula to calculate how thin each layer needs to be. Everything is based on the judgment of the artisans. Only their sensasion can decide when to stop and the previous layer is not affected. Even with spraying paint, each layer has to be as thin and smooth as possible to naturally create a sense of depth. The Hanoia’s artisan master said:” We are still making lacquer by traditional technique inherited from our ancestors.”

No matter how sophisticated the technology, the attractiveness of lacquer always originates from traditional craftsmanship technique. Deep inside the glamorous light reflected from mother of pearl pieces or the brilliant lacquer colors, you may hear the stories echoed from a thousand years resonated with today’s life rhythm.


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