Chinese Antique Glossary – L

Lacquer

Waterproof varnish made by layering numerous coats of the treated sap of a tree indigenous to China and later introduced to Japan. Colors can be combined and layered in relief as well as carved. In Chinese art, lacquer is usually the sap of the qi shu (lacquer tree), rhus verniciflua. The most popular colors are red and black.  The lacquer is applied to a number of different base materials including wood, bamboo, cloth, ceramic and metal.


Lead-fluxed glaze

Such glazes were used in China on earthenwares, stonewares and porcelains. Glazes of this type include lead in their composition to act as a flux – an ingredient to bring down the melting point of the glaze mixture. Lead-fluxed glazes are usually transparent and brightly colored. In China the most common colorants used in lead-fluxed glazes are oxides of iron, copper and cobalt. Glazes of this type are also sometimes called simply ‘lead glazes’.

Leiwen

Literal translation: ‘thunder pattern’. A pattern made up of juxtaposed squared spirals.

Lingzhi fungus

This fungus, polyporous lucidus, is associated with Daoism and in Chinese art symbolizes immortality.

Luohan

A luohan, also sometimes referred to as an Arhat, is a Buddhist disciple.