The use of lacquer in the Eastern tradition dates 7,000 years back in time. The pieces finished with this material are an unquestionable sample of expertise, determination and leisurely work. Nothing is easy in the use of this compound, which is extracted manually from the lacquer tree (known as urishi). In the first place, it must be taken into account that the sap that emanates from this plant is toxic, which forces it to be handled with extreme care, and secondly because traditionally mercury pigments have been applied to this resinous base, which adds the risk of poisoning by this metal. But if something is surprising in this ancient technique is that it is still alive despite the proliferation of industrial systems that achieve a very close finish.

Wu Guanzhong, “Abedules blancos”, 1991

In Eastern culture, knowledge is an invaluable value whose transfer to future generations gives true meaning to wisdom and its preservation. For this reason, many contemporary authors experiment with the incorporation of classical lacquers in their works, giving rise to pieces that pay homage to tradition while building bridges to the future.

The Chinese Cultural Center hosts a showing of 43 pieces of artists that mix paint and lacquer, a representative sample of the current trend in the country to capture a wide diversity of artistic styles and expressive languages through the recovery and redefinition of this traditional technique.

At the same time, the exhibition allows strengthening connections with our country and fuelling a bilateral exchange that has remained alive since the emergence of the old silk route, which connected Xi’an with Tarragona.

The traditional Chinese lacquer lives a resurgence in the hands of contemporary creators, who have wanted to merge the historical legacy with the aesthetic concerns of the moment and give a new meaning to the painting.


Have you ever noticed the magnificent space that is the Galería de Cristal of Palacio de Cibeles in broad daylight? Did you walk through Art Madrid'24 under the huge glass dome? Do you remember that painting that caught your attention and you couldn't take a picture of it because you didn't want to miss anything of the fair? Would you like to spend 5 minutes in front of that amazing sculpture again? Well, you can do all this and more thanks to our 360º VIRTUAL VISIT!

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