The artistic use of natural lacquer has had a tradition in China since the Neolithic Age. It was first used to preserve objects or paint on wood and other materials. Later, carvings in black or red lacquer predominated, their decoration made by making incisions in the many dried layers of lacquer. It was often used on objects decorating interiors, such as boxes of various sizes and forms. Painting in colours and gold on a lacquered background was used mainly in later periods and created impressive decorations with motifs of landscapes, figures, and flowers and birds.