from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. European technique of creating lacquerware in imitation of traditional Japanese style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The art or act of varnishing in the Japanese manner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The art of coating surfaces of metal, wood, etc., with japan or varnish, which is dried and hardened by means of a high temperature in stoves or hot chambers.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • In the early nineteenth century lacquering as an art fell into disrepute, and such decorations were largely associated with the commoner metal wares, stoved and lacquered by the so-called japanning process carried out in Birmingham and other places, although there is now some admiration shown by collectors for small trays, bread baskets, candle boxes, and snuffer trays of metal, japanned and decorated by hand in colours and much fine gold pencilling.

    Chats on Household Curios

  • The English called decoupage 'japanning' in the 18th century, and it became popular with the upper and middle classes by the 19th century.

    BellaOnline - The Voice of Women

  • Imitations of lacquer and other decorative surfaces by European craftsmen using their own materials and techniques were known as 'japanning'. "

    Inventory of Robert Carter's Estate, November [1733]

  • Thomas began work in his uncle's japanning and papier mache business but as he had obvious talent he was apprenticed elsewhere to become an ornamenter of papier mache wares.

    Thomas Worsey

  • The traditional black red and gold varnished objects typical of Asian imports were imitated in Europe, and the palette extended by the addition of blues, greens, and yellows. 2 New-style lacquering, such as the painted scenes of vernis-Martin japanning, and metalwork such as tôle demanded these colored varnishes. 3

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • So he at once expressed his readiness; and, kneeling on the floor, while the Dodger sat upon the table so that he could take his foot in his laps, he applied himself to a process which Mr. Dawkins designated as ‘japanning his trotter – cases.’

    Oliver Twist

  • With these you may match almost any colour in general use in japanning.

    Young's Demonstrative Translation of Scientific Secrets

  • Be very careful in japanning, to grind your colours smooth in spirits of turpentine, then add a small quantity of turpentine and spirit varnish, lay it carefully on with a camel hair brush, and varnish it with brown or white varnish, according to the colour.

    Young's Demonstrative Translation of Scientific Secrets

  • When white or other light tones are used for japanning they are mixed with japanners 'varnish, and these require more careful heating in the oven or stove than darker tints or brown or black.

    Handbook on Japanning: 2nd Edition For Ironware, Tinware, Wood, Etc. With Sections on Tinplating and Galvanizing

  • The principle lends itself specially to the design of apparatus for raising and maintaining heat evenly and uniformly, and also very economically for such purposes as enamelling, japanning, and lacquering.

    Handbook on Japanning: 2nd Edition For Ironware, Tinware, Wood, Etc. With Sections on Tinplating and Galvanizing


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  • Japan Times: 'Just as "China" became the common-use word for both porcelain and the country that produced it, so "Japan" entered the English language not only as the name of the country. Originally the word also referred to the lacquerware with which the country was associated, and the verb "japanning" meant "to varnish."'

    December 4, 2008