A varnish, consisting of a solution of shellac in alcohol, often colored with gamboge, saffron, or the like; -- used for varnishing metals, papier-maché, and wood. The name is also given to varnishes made of other ingredients, esp. the tough, solid varnish of the Japanese, with which ornamental objects are made.
Made from the sap of the lac tree, which turns hard and black on exposure to air and sunlight, and applied in successive layers, lacquer is used as a ground for Chinese or Japanese decoration, usually of figures in landscapes etc. More rarely, dyes were mixed with the sap to produce various colours. It can also be carved, and polished, and layers of differing colours, carved and etched, were often used to great effect.
A solvent-based solution containing modifying agents that gives a glossy, durable finish when applied to a substrate.