VARNISHED WARE. In the Burmese pro cess of making this ware, a wooden frame, of wood covered with strips of bamboo woven to gether so as to form a basket, is the framework of the intended cup ; the weaving is like that of a lady's work-basket, and care is taken that it shall be a.s thin and light as pt.ksible, as upon this matter the beauty and delicacy of the ware will depend. Towards the edges, the weaving is of a coarser nature, and the bamboo is made as fine ns hair. The varnish is named thit-tsi (wood-oil), and may be gathered at all times. but if taken during the flowering season, which is at the beginning of the year, it does not harden well. It appears to be in many of its properties analo gous to China varnish, and it affects in a similar way the health of those who prepare it. Those unaccustomed to it frequently find their hands blistered, and their arms and faces swollen with its effects. All who use it take certain precau tions against accidentally swallowing any portion, and they are careful to touch it with tho right hand only, while they take their food with the left. Some persons are more seriously affected by the varnish than others, and its injurious effects appear in blotches so much resembling leprosy that the other I3urmese refuse to hold intercourse with the affected person. The varnish is laid on with a brush, to spare the hand as far as practic able ; but in all future operations on the same vessel, it is laid on with the hand, both in order to procure a fine surface, and to enable the workman to reject the minutest particles of dust. When first laid on, the varnish looks of a light-brown colour, but rubbing with the hand turns it to a fine black. When the cup is varnished, it must be carefully'shut up in a box, to exclude the dust, and then deposited in a deep cold vault. This is &aid to be essential to its proper setting, and with one of which every manufactory is provided. The cup is kept in the vault at least three days.
In the third process, the cup is covered over with a thick black paste, which is intended to stop up all holes in the baskets, and to give the ware a body. Different pastes are used for this
purpose, but all agree in being composed of some fine powder mixed tip with thit-tsi ; in one sort, the powder is that of calcined bones; in another, the fine sawdust of teak wood. In all cases the paste is dabbed on with the fingers, so as to hide the basket as far as the workman is able to do. After this process, as well as after every other in which tho varnish is used in any shape, the cup is returned to the vault, where it must remain at least three days before any subsequent operation can be proceeded with.
In the fourth and fifth processes, the cup is ground smooth inside and outside. The operation is performed on a clumsy lathe, which is turned backwards and forwards with a stick and leather string like a drill-bow. The workman smears the cup with water mixed with an ochrey red earth, turns the lathe rapidly with his right hand, and presses a piece of pumice-stone held in his left hand against the inside of the cup ; this process soon rubs down the rough surface of the paste, and is continued until it is quite stnooth.
Sixthly, the cup is covered on the inside with an additional quantity of paste of finer quality, which is laid on by the workman after the outside is grouud smooth, and dried, in order that it might receive an additional polish on a subsequent day.
In the seventh part of the process, the cup is covered with fine paste on the outside as well as on the inside. In this stage the cup is ground outside and in, and has also received a coat of fine varnish. This is the result of two successive operations with the interval of at least three days between them ; the grinding is performed on the lathe, as in Nos. 4 and 5, but instead of pumice stone the workman employs first a piece of sinooth sandstone, then a rag with charcoal and water, and lastly a piece of moist cloth. The cup is dried well in the sun before the vandsh ia laid on, which is done with the finger.