Lacquerware is made of wood, bamboo & lacquer, thit-si, the sap of the Black Lacquer Tree. The bamboo is split into tiny strips which are then coiled or woven into the piece's form. A mixture of lacquer and sawdust provides the base coat. Then coats of the best quality lacquer are applied. Yun is a Burmese technique of freehand engraving the piece with a stylist, a kauk. These incisions are then filled with red or black color three or four times. After drying, the piece is polished with paddy husks. This process is repeated. Another coat of resin from the Tama tree is applied to seal the color inside the engraved lines. Then new engravings are made with another repeat of the color, drying & polishing steps. The second color now appears in the second engraving. This process is repeated for other colors, usually four. Then the piece is sealed with a final mixture of thit-si & shan-zi. When dry it is polished with teak charcoal for a fine luster. The inside is finished with typically a red lacquer. It takes four to eight months to complete a fine piece: about 26 processes.
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