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Red Lacquer Wood Bowl: The Origin of Lacquerware

Dec 14, 2009
Red lacquer wood bowl: the origing of lacquerware

Red lacquer wood bowl: the origing of lacquerware

Name: Red Lacquer Wood Bowl | 中文名: 木胎朱漆碗
Dated to: 4,000~5,000 B.C., Neolithic period | Culture: Hemudu Culture
Unearthed: 1977@Hemudu Ruins T231, Yuyao, Zhejiang | Current Location: Zhejiang Museum
Dimension: Mouth: 10.6×9.2cm; Bottom: 7.6×7.2cm; Height: 5.7cm; Thickness: 2cm

This ancient bowl is made of wood, with a convergence mouth, oval melon shape, and a circle foot. It has a thin outer layer of slightly shiny red paint (substantially peeling). By chemical methods and spectral analysis, the paint is identified as lacquer.

China: The Birthplace of Lacquerware

The discovery of this red lacquer bowl indicates that at least six or seven thousand years ago, Chinese ancestors had been using lacquer to decorate the surface of apparatus. China is the first country in the world that became aware of lacquer and used it for decoration. And this bowl proves it.


Han Dynasty Lacquerware | by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakeji/2827314963/}Jake Ji{/link}

A lacquer pan made 2,000+ years ago

The Metropolitan Museum of Art at New York City has a great collection of Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese lacquerwares. A user on Flickr shared all of them in this album: Lacquerware collection of the Metro. Go have a look!

Hemudu Ruins: Where Human Harvested First Pound of Rice

This bowl was unearthed at Hemudu Culture Ruins.

The Hemudu culture (河姆渡文化) (5000 BC to 4500 BC) was a Neolithic culture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bay in modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. The site at Hemudu, 22 km north-west of Ningbo, was discovered in 1973.

The Hemudu culture is one of the earliest cultures to cultivate rice. Most of the artifacts discovered at Hemudu consist of animal bones, exemplified by hoes made of shoulder bones used for cultivating rice.

To know more about Hemudu culture, here is the official website: http://www.hemudusite.com/. (In Chinese, English link is broken.)

A Documentary TV series made by CCTV (in Chinese): Hemudu culture on youtube.

[Forbidden Treasure of China Series]
This is the 13rd of 64 culture heritages that the government of China forbids to exhibit abroad. The complete list is here. In Chinese.

[Chinese Keywords]
国家一级文物 禁止出境

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