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Lacquered wood offering centerpiece, 'Khantok'Lacquered wood offering centerpiece, 'Khantok'

Lacquered wood offering centerpiece, 'Khantok'



"Mystic in conception and antique in artistry, this lacquer khantok offering tray exudes solemn elegance and tradition. Nantana Sompamitre works alongside her trained artisans to create this piece, and they seek to preserve Thailand's kruang-kern, or ""lacquerware heritage."" ""This piece is inspired by the people's faith in Buddhism and their ceremonies,"" explains Sompamitre. ""This is the real character of Lanna people, it represents this rich culture of ours."" To craft a piece such as this one, mango wood is carefully hand-shaped upon a lathe and then a mixture of lacquer - obtained from trees and ashes of burnt rice paddy husks - is applied. Upon exposure to air the mixture dries to form a watertight seal which is polished before another coat is applied. This process is repeated up to twenty times, building up a rigid base, and a final polish is given with a sandpaper-like leaf. Then up to six coats of pure lacquer are painted on the object, with drying periods in between each coat. The final layer is washed with water and polished with powdered fired clay, giving it a gleaming shine. Next a gilding technique called lai rot nam (watered pattern), is applied whereby it is firstly engraved free-hand with a sharp-pointed tool, and then the piece is dusted with a wooden powder. The black background is covered with a yellow gummy paint, which comes from a tree resin that has been placed in water for a day. After that, a thin coat of lacquer is applied to the entire surface and, before it dries, gold leaf is placed over it. The piece is then left to dry for approximately 20 hours. Finally the whole lacquer ware is thoroughly rinsed in water rinsing out impurities or unattached gold leaf. The result is a piece of rich artistry where shimmering gold engraved designs contrast against a high-gloss black background."