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Lacquerware was widely used in Chinese people¨s daily life in those ancient days. To make lacquerware, people reap natural sap from lacquer trees. As the sap is mainly made up of urushiol, laccase, gumminess and moisture, it has properties of moisture resistance, thermostability, corrosion resistance and so on. It is then made into different colors and applied to the surfaces of various goods, creatingcolored wares for daily use or dazzling handicrafts and art. Lacquerware boasts a long history. According to relevant records, lacquer wares had already been used in the Xia Dynasty under the reign of Yu (the legendary founder of the Xia Dynasty, best remembered for teaching the people flood control techniques to tameChina's rivers and lakes) over 4,200 years ago, andthey were used more frequently in the Warring States Period.
In the Han Dynasty, lacquerware was employed for daily use, and gained in popularity from then on. During the Tang Dynasty, the making of lacquerware developed significantly. After the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties, there were more than 20 different styles of lacquerware.
W
uling Mountain, which stretches across Hunan and Hubei Provinces, used to be home to many lacquer trees. Within the geographical boundary of Hunan, the lacquer trees mainly grow in northwestern Hunan like Longshan County, Sangzhi County, etc.

Lacquer trees are a cash crop grown for specific use. The lacquer industry deals with a natural resinous varnish, which is always acknowledged as the ^King of Coating. ̄ People gather wax from the lacquer trees and manufacture oil from their seeds. The lacquer trees grow fast, yielding strong and durable timber. Besides, they produce natural resin coatings and oil. This kind of tree mainly grows in China¨s Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Shaanxi provinces.
Nowadays, no large tracts of lacquer trees can be found in Hunan¨s Longshan area, and there are more scattered across such areas as Da¨an Country and Wuya Country, as well as Bamian Mountain and Luota.
As for the lacquer trees scattered here and there, they would probably ^swell to death ̄ for lack of sap-reaping; while in other places, people are over-reaping sap from the lacquer trees, leaving dozens of openings in their trunks, which will never mend.
Raw lacquer and its products are nontoxic and harmless. Compared with the current chemical lacquer, raw lacquer is environmentally friendly and good for people¨s health, and hence it is the best option for high-quality life.

However, in the fierce competition of the rural economy, new cash woods rush in, casting lacquer trees into the shade. In face of the convenience and cheapness brought about by modern science and technology, the lacquer trees appear to be powerless. And we can only look on helplessly at the disappearing of those natural lacquer trees.

The Maoba Country of Hubei Province is the place of origin of ^Ba Lacquer ̄, the most renowned kind of raw lacquer. There were originally 30,000 mu (about 2,001 hectares) of lacquer trees. But nowadays, only 8,000 mu (about 533.6 hectares) of lacquer trees remain. Tea plants have replaced the trees in the majority of those areas.