Chinese Meaning of NeQwa – "Hand Painting on Inside on Glass"

Recently I discovered an exciting art form. It is called Reverse Hand Painting or NeQwa. The word NeQwa in the Chinese language means hand painting on inside on glass. This particular form of art began centuries ago in China. Originally the delicate painting was done on the inside of “snuff” bottles or other small glass containers. These objects were commissioned by Emperors and persons of high station and became quite valuable treasures.

This rare art form is still accomplished today in a studio in China where talented and patient artists paint designs created by North American and English artists in blown glass ornaments of various shapes and sizes. Famous artists such as Stewart Sherwood, Jim Shore, Susan Winget, G. DeBrekht, and Peggy Abrams create original designs for the paintings, many of the designs are limited editions for distributions to collectors and others who have no doubt received the ornaments as gifts and appreciated there untimely beauty.

The art form itself is most interesting. The glass is mouth blown using a special high grade of glass tubing. These pieces are etched on the inside to insure that when painted the paint will adhere to the glass. However, the etching makes it extremely difficult for the artist to see the brush inside and determine exactly where the paint stokes will be placed. Hence the need for both talent and patience!

The artist uses a combination of ink and paint, including acrylics, water colors and oils to create these delicate works of art. The first step is to develop the set of brushes needed to paint a particular design. These brushes are hand crafted by the artist to the exact size needed, some no larger than a single hair on your head. Unlike traditional painting, the artist begins with the foreground and then finally the background. The outline is first and painstakingly done with Chines ink and blended to create the dimensional effect of the finished product. Then the artist begins the first color. Each color is allowed to dry before continuing to the next color, and finally the colors are blended. Sometimes an ornament can be completed in hours and sometimes it takes several days.

The finished product is signed by the artist and authenticated by the company that commissioned it to assure that it is the real thing. It is then packaged in a lovely velour box which is satin lined and a certificate of authentication is placed inside. Some of the limited editions are packaged in leather boxes. The sets, which are comprised of ornaments not sold separately, are usually presented in finished wooden boxes with satin lining.

These objects of art are a delight to own and to receive as gifts. I personally have begun my collections starting with the Santa Collection and various Angels.

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