BEIJING, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- "Finely detailed by exquisite engraving, the figure of the beauty is captured vividly. Thousand layers of lacquer, glistening bright, even make Chang'e envy of its radiance." This poem describes the exquisiteness of carved lacquer. The craft is to apply colorful lacquers onto a ware, ranging from twenty or thirty to over a hundred layers, and then engrave patterns on the lacquers. It is known for its intensive labor, high cost, complex procedures, and excellent skill and is also called the "art of time". There are various lacquer carving techniques nowadays, including flat carving, relief carving, hollow carving, and three-dimensional carving. A large or medium-sized artwork costs at least a year or more to complete.
Hai Yan, an artisan of lacquer carving born in the 1980s, graduated from the College of Art and Design at Beijing University of Technology in 2007. She studied the craft from two national-level masters Wen Qiangang and Yin Xiuyun, consecutively. Over 15 years of lacquer carving practice, Hai Yan has endeavored to integrate elements of modern arts into traditional lacquer carving techniques. Based on traditional multi-color lacquer painting technique, she developed new techniques in multi-color and multi-layer lacquer painting with her colleagues, which expands the forms of lacquer carving and makes it more diverse and suitable for modern patterns. Currently, Hai Yan aims to integrate lacquer carving into cultural and creative products and home decor, allowing common people to know and embrace this traditional Chinese art.