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
This is a necklace with a wood carving of a lotus pod. Like the real thing seeds are movable but cannot be taken out unless you break open the pod. These fresh lotus seeds were one of my favorite childhood snacks, what can be better than a soft package with refreshing sweet capsules. Sadly, they are not as easily found markets of Hong Kong anymore.
This is the figurine of one of the five goat riding saints, the legend goes back to 880 B.C. when Guangzhou was constantly hit by famine and plague, there were 5 saints each with a different colour garment and each riding a different colour goat. The 5 saints each offer 6 stalk of rice to the residence and bless the city to be free of famine. The goat 羊 is homophone to the word blessed 祥, which resulted in Guangzhou being also known as the 5 Goats City. It was a wish for the ancient farmers, never to stave again.
Great imagination to take a piece of wood rose and made it into a broody hen!
The wood rose is an unique material, it is actually the gall developed by the tree who has been parasites by mistletoe. Mistletoe, apart from the kissing part, is actually a parasite which cost great damages to trees that they host on. The wood rose is the masses of woody tissue the tree tried to defend itself from the mistletoe and the mistletoe on the other hand leaves mushroom like malformation on the wood.
This puppet head is that of a glove puppet, it is of the character Qing Hua Junior of the Jing (painted face) catergory. Qing Hua Junior can portrait characters of a villain or a hero with an explosive attitude.
The making of the puppet starts from selection of Zhang wood (Cinnamomum Camphora), apart from the nature of the wood its also has a function of being a wood pesticide, the required size would be taken out and together with the trimming to the rough form all done by use of a hammer. The details are then carved out, once the carving is completed a thin layer of white slip is applied as a filler to smooth out the knots of the wood. The base colour is then sprayed by a mouth piece and the features hand painted. If there are hair to the puppet, it would be added at the final stage.
This is a stone carving use for the decoration of a small yan ping (see our other entries; yan ping and again yan ping). Yan Ping is part of the Chinese stationary, it is designed to be used as a screen for shielding the ink well from drying. The carving is a relief of the chrysanthemum flowers from a small piece of stone, the slight polish gave the flower its shading and tones.
W80xH180mm, Sumatra, Indonesia
Apology for yesterday’s misinformation, this is actually the stopper of the guri guri potion container, a container of magic for the Batak tribe.
The magical potion is known as guri guri, used by the datu to perform good as well as magic with evil intention. The guri guri is one of the most sacred object of the datu. The figurine is a human riding on singa. Singa is a mythological creature that is benevolent and powerful, it is described to be part human, part buffalo, part crocodile.
This is the head carving of one of the 18 Arhats (Shi Ba Luo Han). The 18 Arhats were the original followers of the Buddha who have attained nirvana and are here on earth to protect the Buddhist faith until the arrival of the Maritreya. These ivory beads are made for the 18 beads mala.
Since the Tang dynasty , eating utensils have been made from the shell of the coconut. In the Sung dynasty, they even favored by the intellectuals of the time, the carving became refined and decorative so refined that by the Ming and Qing dynasty, coconut carvings have made it as a imperial offering to the Emperor! There are broadly 2 types of coconut teapots; the first has a inner layer made of metal (pewter, silver, bronze etc) and small pieces of coconut shell set over, the second (like this one) is made from a whole coconut shell.
This is a wood carving of a plant known as the Buddha’s hand fruit (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis). It is a citrus fruit that is segmented into finger like section, the section resembles the fingers of the Buddha is tradition Chinese painting, hence the name. In China the fruit is mainly used for perfuming the room and as an object for appreciation, it is also used in herbal remedy. Because of the beautiful form of the fruit, it has become an subject for craving (wood, root, stone, jade, etc).