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Lacquer ware exhibition opens in Shanghai Museum

Date: 2018.12.04 Author: Celia Tang

Shanghai Museum is ongoing an exhibition called In a Myriad of Forms until February 24th. The lacquer ware, which was previously found in the Hemudu Culture ruins in Zhejiang Province, can be dated back to 7,000 years ago. Shanghai Museum has amassed a collection of nearly 1,000 lacquer objects since its establishment in 1952.


The 280 objects on the exhibition includes trays and cups that are elaborately decorated with mother-of-pearls and paintings, lacquer boards with carved figures, patterns and story scenes, as well as Guqin, a plucked music instrument that was widely favored by Chinese literati in the past. The most spectacular pieces at the exhibition are from the era when lacquer ware in China reached its second peak — the period spanning the Song (960-1279) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties


Lacquer is one of the most important contributions China made to human civilization. Lacquer art reached its peak between the Warring States Period and the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) when the material was widely used to create objects for rituals, burials and everyday objects. Thousands of lacquer ware pieces were unearthed from the tombs of this period, most of which had colorful paintings on the surface.