Record Detail

EBC 68567


Specimen Notes:
  • This carved cinnabar lacquer medicine box illustrates the Tsuishu technique. In this technique, lacquer is applied layer by layer to a wooden core in as many as 300 coats, or until a carvable thickness is achieved. Tsuishu requires an enormous amount of time and labour, as each layer must dry and be polished before the next layer is applied. Since lacquer hardens slowly, only one layer could be applied per day. When all the layers are applied, the craftsman can carve an elaborate design into the surface. Tsuishu literally means layered red and is thought to have originated in China during the Sung dynasty. The box is just one example of several carved boxes sent to Kew by Quin in 1882.
  • Record posted on March 25, 2009 and last updated March 25, 2009