The circular crane is a traditional Chinese pattern which symbolizes longevity and satisfactions; it was originally used as the emblem on military flags in the Warring State period but by the Ming dynasty as Taoism becomes prominent their chosen saint carrier – the crane starts appearing on pottery and garments.
In China, the idea of tiger is not seen as a threat but a sign of protection. The strength and bravery of a tiger is aspired to; for the Chinese New Year, parents would dress the baby up in tiger gear, both as a protection blessing as well as a wish for their son to have the tiger’s attributes.
Apart from tiger mitten, there are tiger hats, tiger shoes, tiger du dou and of course tiger toys.
This antique lacquer figurine is that of the Bodhisattva Manjusri (文殊菩薩). Bodhisattva Manjusri and Maitreya are the often depicted with the Gautama Buddha with Manjusri on the left and Maitreya on his right, representing wisdom and teaching receptively.
Mantra of Manjushri
The creature Bodhisattva Manjusri is riding is a green lion (suan ni), the 4th son of the dragon. He adores the incense and sitting so you will also be able to find him as a decoration for the feet of the incense burner.
Tomorrow is the Duan Wu festival, the 5th day of lunar May, before Qu Yuan and the dragon boats came along it was a day for casting away the deadly famine. In ancient times when science and hygiene was poor, it is believed that lunar May is the month of toxin and the 5th is the day of evil and on this combination the day of death. To avoid ailment one is to be purified by bathing and resisted on meat, alcohol and sexual activities. A fragrant sachet would be worn by people all ages, the contents of the bag changes through time as hygiene improves and the taboo of the day of death becomes more remote, from the evil busting copper coins to the pesticide realgar powder, to the antiperspirant clam powder to medicinal fragrant herbs. From patchwork, the sachet was later decorated with embroidery; this particular on has on it a lotus and a lizard, lotus symbolizes togetherness with the lizard (one of the 5 poisonous creatures) offering it protection.
We all used to palm fiber brush for scrub pots and pans before scotch brite comes along. Palm fiber is a natural material that absorb grease making it more environmentally friendly. This particular brush has the petiole of the palm leaf as a natural handle which makes a perfect minimal design.
Like other forms of Chinese theater, the glove puppet follows the same cast catagories. This puppet head belongs to the Jing category (painted face), a forceful character and the sub category of Black Flower (Hei Hua) which denotes a strong temperament but integrity (a bit like Captain Haddock in the Tin Tin comic). Junior means a younger character, hence there is also Black Flower Senior who comes with beard. Hei Hua Junior is often cast as the talented officers for a respected official
The daffodil plant was first recorded in the China’s History of Plants (花史) as a gift from Tang emperor to the sister of his beloved imperial concubine Yang Gui Fei. The bowls for the imperial gift was of course made of gold, jade and 7 other jewels. The daffodil bowl we have today is one for the common folks, a ceramic bowl with green glaze from the Shi Wan kiln.
And here is super cute cats with daffodil.
As the clay toys of Nie Jia Zhuang was selected as the Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage, it also signified that it is a dyeing art which is in need of protection. The making of clay toys in the area dated back to the Ming dynasty, folk song was sung about these colour clay toys. Up to the 80s, they were ever so popular, every kid would own one.
This roaring tiger, has a leather waist which forms as a bellow to the squeak inside the front half of the body.
The use of mother of pearl in lacquerware has been dated since the Zhou dynasty 1000 B.C. and matured in the Sung dynasty. The pearl inlay into the black lacquer box creates a dream like magical colour, perhaps some the magic comes from the pain sticking workmanship that goes behind its creation.