"Oriental" finishes

Yesterday I picked up a table at a fleamarket. It's the size of a small coffee table and has a glossy black finish and is elaborately decorated with gold striping, and has a garden scene with human figures recessed under glass, and ornately curved folding legs. It's in pretty bad shape. The glass is missing, and there are a lot of dings in the finish. The end pieces had at one time been repaired, someone tried to slip some glue in between the miters and then nailed the end pieces back on sloppily with small headed nails. The small butt hinges for the legs were in bad shape. The more I get into repairing this piece the more it seems handmade, even the hinges. My questions concern the finish. Obviously I don't want to refinish the piece but want to repair the dings. There seems to be a coating under the finish that is as much a filler as a primer; it was used to "radius" inside corners where horizontal and vertical elements of the table come together. I'd like to know of techniques number one for determining what kind of paint was used for the finish (don't know if it's laquer, I tried a small spot on the underside with laquerthinner and not much black came off on the rag) and number two, techniques for repairing the dings. I posted a picture of this table in my website, click on the "Woodpile" link at: http://www.edswoods.com Please don't look to the left or right if you visit this site as it's a house in very poor order at the moment......
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