Finance and Business

Why Sơn Mài Painting Is So Expensive | So Expensive

senmai is a traditional vietnamese form of lacquer painting created using a toxic lacquer harvested from one region of the country it requires months of application and sandy back layers of paint to build up the image last year a semi painting sold at auction for 972 000 so what makes these paintings so special and why are they so expensive [Music] has dedicated almost 50 years to mastering sen mai and knows how equally tiring and rewarding the craft can be it is an art form of incredible value in vietnamese culture for both the time and skill it requires and the exclusive natural materials needed to make it the process of making lacquer paint begins in the forests of vietnam where planters collect resin from a toxic wax tree native to southeast asia called the roos succidenia planters must cut into more than 400 trees to retrieve between one and one and a half kilograms of resin [Music] after harvesting the lacquer must be removed of any impurities and mixed for several hours before it’s suitable for painting one of the principal features of senmai is the depth created by adding several layers of paint and sanding them back these layers aren’t always visible in the finished work but are what differentiate lacquer painting from other common painting styles with oil painting artists paint from back to front painting the landscape first and the details later the process of lacquer painting is the opposite hey i know hello artists mix natural ingredients to create colors like eggshells to make white or cinnabar a toxic ore for red in some cases artists add leaves of silver sometimes even gold to create a gentle sheen these substances can be one of the costliest parts of semi painting while the raw materials of the painting may be more expensive than many other styles the skill and the work of the artist are what set the vinyl value along with the immense patient sunlight requires each work is unique and unpredictable that’s because painters are never quite sure how the layers will resurface through sanding this can either increase the value of the work or force an artist to start over painters must be careful to let each layer fully dry before sanding otherwise colors or designs could be ruined there’s no set amount of time a layer takes to dry as it largely depends on the weather that day is after weeks of work pieces are polished with coal powder which creates the smooth surface and lasting shine of senmai artists have used lacquer for its glossy finish for thousands of years one of its best-known applications is japanese lacquerware decorative pieces of furniture boxes and dinnerware but in the early 20th century vietnamese artists developed an interest in lacquer painting and created a style unique to the world impressive as these works can be the process is both costly and arduous and that’s why fan ching trung believes the future of this tradition will depend on finding more artists willing to learn it is foreign you
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