Giving lacquerware a new shine

By Ma Zhenhuan| China Daily | Updated:  September 17, 2020 L M S


Pieces of gold-painted lacquerware and undecorated woodcarvings are showcased at Huang Cailiang's art museum in Ninghai, in Zhejiang province's Ningbo.[Photo by Xiao Da/China Daily]

The 63-year-old began to learn about gold-painted lacquerware production at age 18, when he made it his living.

He spent the next few years practicing woodcarving.

In 1986, Huang furthered his studies of modern sculpture at East China Normal University in Shanghai.

Afterward, he returned to Ninghai and set up a factory to produce lacquerware and undecorated woodcarvings, a form of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage.

The factory helped popularize both crafts and generated significant profits.

In 2002, the artisan cooperated with a local vocational school in Ninghai and trained hundreds of students on how to produce gold-painted lacquerware to cultivate more young inheritors.

Nine trainees were selected as new-generation inheritors.

In 2005, Huang realized lacquerware's market potential and started to further explore its market value.

He innovated on the recipe for the paste used to depict decorative patterns and made the red color less shiny to cater to modern tastes.

Huang spent the following years building an art museum to display the history, production process and exquisite pieces of gold-painted lacquerware and undecorated woodcarvings.

The 23,000-square-meter museum he designed and invested in opened to the public in December 2016.

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