Japanning

Japanning is a word originating from the 17th century, used to describe the European imitation of Asian lacquerwork, originally used on furniture.

Japanned

Japanned is most often a heavy black lacquer, almost like enamel paint. The European technique uses varnishes that have a resin base similar to shellac, applied in heat-dried layers which are then polished, to give a smooth glossy finish. It can also come in reds, greens and blues.

Originating in India, China, and Japan as a decorative coating for pottery, it made its way into Europe by the 1600s. In the late 17th century, high European demand and rumors that higher quality pieces were not exported led to production starting in Italy. Its traditional form can be found using gold designs and pictorials contrasting with the black base color.

Development in Europe

As the craze for all things japanned grew, the Italian technique for imitating Asian lacquerwork also spread.

The Art of Japanning developed in 18th century England at the court of King George III, and Queen Charlotte the art of applying paper cut outs to other items (decoupage) became very popular, especially the botanically inspired works of Mrs Mary Delaney.

Japanned metal

Ironware was japanned black, for decorative reasons and also to render it rustproof and suitable for carrying water. A large industry developed in South Wales, before tinplate.

Applications

In the 19th and 20th centuries this lacquering technique evolved into the handicraft of decoupage. Decoupage focuses less on furniture and more on temporary boxes and toiletry containers.

The technique was also developed to protect wood and later industrial metal objects such as hand planes and builders' hardware. Later it was as an insulating film on transformer laminations. It was also used as the substrate for the tintype photographic process.

References

* [http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Museum/metalware/japintro.htm Japanning] at localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk
*


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Japanning — Ja*pan ning, n. The art or act of varnishing in the Japanese manner. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Japanning — Japan Ja*pan (j[.a]*p[a^]n ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Japanned} (j[.a]*p[a^]nd ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Japanning}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To cover with a coat of hard, brilliant varnish, in the manner of the Japanese; to lacquer. [1913 Webster] 2. To give a …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • japanning — ▪ decorative art  in the decorative arts, process popular in 18th century Europe for finishing and ornamenting wood, leather, tin, and papier mâché in imitation of the celebrated lacquerwork of the Japanese. In modern industry, the term refers to …   Universalium

  • japanning — noun European technique of creating lacquerware in imitation of traditional Japanese style …   Wiktionary

  • japanning — ja·pan || dÊ’É™ pæn v. varnish with japan lacquer; coat with any black lacquer n. shiny black lacquer which originated in Japan; something varnished with japan lacquer adj. of or pertaining to japan lacquer …   English contemporary dictionary

  • japanning — noun ( s) Etymology: from gerund of japan (III) : the process of varnishing with japan; also : the material used …   Useful english dictionary

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