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In the old days, these type of bowls are used by the hawker street stalls, “dai pai dong”, which has long been replaced by plastic bowls.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.
Today is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, Yuan Xiao, a day which denotes a lot of events;
- First full moon of the new year
- End of the Chinese New Year celebration
- Chinese valentine’s day
- Lantern’s festival
It is traditional to have a rice dumpling soup on the day and to solve the lantern riddle.
Here is the recipe for the rice dumpling soup (also known as Yuan Xiao)
For the dumpling (make 10 dumpling)
- 110g glutinous rice flour
- 100g water
- 25g black seasame seed
- 25g sugar
- 1.25 tbs butter (the traditional version is to use lard)
For the soup
- 625ml water
- 40g sugar brown sugar bar
- 3 slices of ginger
- Heat the sesame seed in a pan in medium heat (keep stirring) until popping
- Grind the cooled sesame seed in a blender or mortar
- In a heated pan, melt the sugar, butter and blend in the sesame paste, then put in the fridge
- For the skin dough, mix the rice flour with water, knead until it is no stick to the hand
- Make 10 little balls with the dough, take 1 ball, flatten it and make a slight dent, put the sesame stuffing in and lightly let the dough envelop in the stuffing and shape the dumpling into a ball again
- Make the sweet soup by adding the 3 items in a saucepan and boil till the sugar dissolved
- In other large pan of boiling water, add in the dumpling, they will start to float when they are cooked
- Put a couple of dumpling in a bowl of sweet soup, enjoy!
Here is a lantern riddle to go with your dumpling soup (now all you need is to find a valentine and a lantern …)
WHEN IT IS SITTING ITS SITTING
WHEN IT IS STANDING ITS SITTING
WHEN IT IS MOVING ITS SITTING
WHEN IT IS SLEEPING ITS SITTING
(guess an animal)
The bowl presented here is in fact a tea bowl (blue and white porcelain with painted goldfish), its a brewing and drinking bowl for individual enjoyment. Hot water is added to the tea leaves in the bowl, rinse and drained (use the lid to retain the tea leave). A second round of hot water is added and brew for 10 minutes. The lid is opened for appreciation of the scent and the colour of the tea, it is then close again with a small small opening. Tea is slowly sipped out from the gap.
(answer to the riddle – frog)
In the old days, for a common Chinese family the ceramic items on the dowry list would include: one vase, a pair of blue and white double happiness jars, a pair of hat rest. Inside of the jars would be placed dates and lotus seeds as a symbol of adding a son for the family.