The Far East is the motherland of lacquer production. It's output reached its peak in Japan. It was born in ancient times and has achieved its success since.
Japanese lacquer is a special kind of wood pitch which being very poisonous was gathered with great cautious. The process of using such lacquer were very vary and complicated. The general frame of the thing treated by lacquer was done of thin wooden plates. But they used papier-mache as well. A box made of papier-mache or wood was primed by special glue and stone powder, then they put a layer of burn clay mixed with wet lacquer and water. Sometimes they clued some liner on its surface. Then the thing was dried and scrubbed by pumice.
After having put the lacquer and dried it the surface was polished by pitch mixed with delicate powder of whet. Dye tone of Indian ink, cinnabar, gum-gut depending on needed colour was put by brush. Then it was covered with some lacquer layers and polished by coal powder diluted by water.
For receiving a metallic tone of the surface they put metal powder of any tone (yellow, red, green, silver, bronze, tin, lead, iron) into the lacquer. Sometimes they incrustated the thing with nacre, elephant bone, tortoise test, metal. There were added different combinations of materials for things to make them unique. A special effect was received by adding gold sand into the lacquer.
After every operation with lacquer, the thing was dried in the dark closed room which shouldn't be very dry for some weeks or even months. For final treatment the surface of the thing was covered by lacquer of the best quality, very transparent and it was drying ever during some months. After the lacquer became hard the surface was finished by polishing. There were no painting, but the surface itself was of fine quality. Sometimes they painted it plainly or in relief.
Looking delicate these Japanese articles were very strong. The longer they lived the stronger they were. They were impervious for all this. Everything depended both on the quality and on the duration of the production conditions.