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Pingyao glazes a trail

By Yang Feiyue and Sun Ruisheng | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-28 08:20
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A jewelry box, featuring magnolia patterns, is a fine example of the traditional lacquer art in Pingyao, Shanxi province. [Photo by LIANG SHENGREN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Hand-polished lacquerware from an ancient Chinese town, promoted by a master artist and his dedicated disciples, is taking the world by storm, report Yang Feiyue in Beijing and Sun Ruisheng in Taiyuan.

For a bride-to-be in the ancient town of Pingyao, having a shining lacquer dresser in her trousseau is a must, its value no less than a coveted diamond ring or a family heirloom. Often painted with peonies or happily-ever-after tales, the lacquer dresser is meant to bless the newlyweds with marital bliss and prosperity.

Making the item an integral part of weddings shows people's appreciation of Pingyao's lacquerware, an art form that dates back more than 1,200 years to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

As the ancient town in North China's Shanxi province became a national financial center under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Pingyao's hand-polished lacquer art, fueled by the huge demand from wealthy bankers, reached its peak. The craft was among the first to be named a "national intangible cultural heritage" by the State Council in 2006.

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