A tiniest cup for the strongest tea – Kang Hu Tea.
Although it can be enjoyed in a tea ceremony, my first encounter of it (and still is my favorite) was a causal serving at the end of a Chaozhou feast. The tea is like best after dinner drink, clearing the palette as well as aiding digestion. A word of caution, better to take in small dosage (a cup or 2 will be the limit) if you dont want to stay up sheep counting.
To celebrate the victory of Germany winning the World Cup, here a plate with the lion playing with a xiu qiu.
The composition of the lion playing with the ball is a traditional blessing pattern. The lion being nonnative in China was a mystical creature, not only is it the symbol of power and strength, it is also the carrier of the Manjusri Bodhisattva. Lions sculptures are often found outside buildings as the guard against evils. Here is the legend of how this supreme creature start getting addicted playing with balls; during the Southern and Northern dynasty, there is a general named Zong Que who was in a losing battle. Zong thought of a way to breaking out of the surrounding enemy, he had the soldier build a figure of the lion, put on a mask and dressed in yellow fur, from a distance the enemy thought the lion has arrived and flee, enabling Zong’s army to escape from the situation. The army celebrated with the local villages and the tradition went on, to humanize the lion more movements were added as well as the xiu qiu ball. The pattern of the lion and the xiu qiu is a blessing of strength and energy.
Click here to see our other items of the lion and the xiu qiu.
Continuing with the stationary items, this ceramic ware is a brush holder. A holder for the small brush, unlike the previous brush rests where they are lay horizontally, the brush here are inserted into the small holes and left standing. The small container is for keeping a bit of water in case the brush has gotten a bit dried. This kind of brush stand are usually used by the people who are writing all the time, e.g. the doctor, the pawn shop owner, the restaurant manager etc.
This bowl bring back a lot of childhood memory for me, I remember it containing this delicious red bean paste desert.
In the old days, these type of bowls are used by the hawker street stalls, “dai pai dong”, which has long been replaced by plastic bowls. Tung Po, my favorite place, is probably the only dai pai dong that still using similar bowls. The use of the bowls are not more sophisticated, they are chilled and beer is served for drinking challenges.
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.
This series of 10 cups make a good set of sake cups for dinner party. Depending on their drinking ability, guests can pick the size of their own cups and the host can refill all their cups at the same time!
The cups are so precisely made that they can be nested into one and other like the Russian Matryoshka dolls, making storage much easier.
DIA75 x H50mm, China
This item selected by Furze for the Something Old Something New exhibition and is available at both Mountain Folkcraft and Soil.
These pair of cups has a brown glazing (known as the soy sauce glaze) and internally a hand painted blue and white porcelain goldfish pattern. The goldfish pattern is a traditional Chinese pottery decoration; the word goldfish (金魚) and the word gold & jade (金玉) are heterographs (same pronunciation, but different meaning and spelling), a bowl full of golden fish is hence a house of wealth.
And here is the ultimate goldfish in a bowl by Riusuke Fukahori
The Chinese started making wine some 5000 years ago and the container developed from bronze to lacquer, then to clay and porcelain. This blue and white porcelain is one that is used by regular folks, this kind of flagon are bold in form and in the pattern different from the usual blue and white porcelain ware.
The traditional Chinese unit for alcohol are measure in sheng, dou, dan.
1 dan = 10 dou
1 dou = 10 sheng
1 dou = app. 6000ml
This flagon holds about 2 dou.
If you can also hold 2 dou of Chinese wine, check our the Wine God wood block print!
This blue and white porcelain box, now displayed as a toothpick holder, was used as an “ink pad” for the Chines. It is a container for the red paste used with the Chinese seal. The ink paste has been used since the Qin dynasty and at that time using clay, the clay is made into small balls and soften with water when use, it is used as a seal for a document, similar to the wax seal in the West (only that the document is of bamboo, text written in lacquer, the envelope being as string which is then sealed). By the Tang dynasty, as paper is developed the ink paste is also refined, cinnabar replaced clay as the seal paste which is closer to today’s paste. Also see our previous post “A Seal Case“.
This tiny blue and white porcelain bowl is used for feeding the pet bird, the wooden detail on the side make it able to be attached to the bamboo bird cage (click to see). The traditional bird feed includes; millet, crushed corn, peanut, sorghum, fruits, sunflower seed, perilla seed, mazi, foxtail millet.