Archives for the month of: February, 2012

W60xD60xH130mm, Thailand

These are a couple of Sawankhalok figurines of men with their fighting cocks, these are ceramic figures with a celadon glaze.  Sawankhalok and Suhokthai are best known for their traditional ceramics.  The are believed to be votive offerings to be placed inside shines for guarding natural spirits (hill, river, tree etc.)


Come and see our collection of Chinese lattice!
please see the entry Lattice

DIA180xH80mm, China

This is a pewter sandalwood burner.  Sandalwood is a fine grain plant which can retain its fragrance for decades, however it is also one of the slowest growing tree.  To use the burner, lay in a line small piece of sandalwood (size of a toothpick) on the burner, covered with sandalwood powder and light at one end.  Wood from the center of the bark and its root has the strongest fragrance.

DIA330xH200mm, China

This is a beautifully weaved bamboo basket, it would have been used for keeping fruits or any offering that would require airing.

The traditional bamboo weaving apprenticeship training is hard; for the first 3 years weaving is taught an practice by making bamboo mat.  Only when it has been perfected, one is then taught on more complex object like basket.  The training takes about 10-12 years when one mastered skills and techniques of all kind of bamboo objects is qualified to be a bamboo artisan.  These kind of training and craftsmanship is fading in China as youngsters see better prospect in blooming factories in the city.

DIA20mm, China

This is an buffalo bone bead for the buddhist rosary, Mala.  The Mala is used for counting the number of times a mantra has been recited.  Bone beads (because of its material departing from the idea of Chinese Buddhism) is not commonly used for the Chinese buddhist rosary.  In Tibetan Buddhism, however, the use the nature bones and horns are a reminder of the impermanence of our bodies and that we are, like everything else just a passing phenomenon.

DIA60xH130mm, China

After 2 entries about gourd (Gourd Basket, Gourd Cricket Cage), here is a small gourd of the ordinary and natural “8” shape.  Tiny gourds have long been appreciated since the Tang dynasty, Gao Lian in his “Interesting Things To be Appreciated at Leisure Hours” talks about tiny gourds that are only about 25mm in size that one can use as cape   button.  This gourd though not so tiny has a good proportion.

H220xW140mm, China

This is a mask for the Chen He theatre of the Hu Nan district.  In the Ming dynasty, immigrants from Jiang Xi settled in the then barren land along the river of Chen He.  Mixing in the local dialect, the ground theatre and other religious element CHen He theatre was born, because of its history, there are a lot of different branches in the Chen He theatre.  This is a mask for the character Luo Han (Arhat), a Buddhist pupil who has a very high stage of attainment.

W100xL300mm, China

This is a silk embroidered wallet, He Bao (荷包).  For a long time, I thought the word He has to do with lotus (荷花) but in fact its from the word (负荷) – loading.  In the old days (this going back to Han dynasty), there are no pockets in the Chinese costumes, these He Bao are developed to keep essential items such as the seal, money, handkerchiefs, etc.  In the beginning they are more of a concept for a small sack that are made of leather, can be hung by the waist, carried by hand or as a small rucksack.  By Qing dynasty, they became a popular fashion accessory, made of silk and embroidered.  They will be hang or kept at the waist band, apart from the wallet, the fashionable gentleman would also have in his waist band, a hand fan, aromatic sac, pocket knife etc.  This is folding He Bao, one of the embroidery side would hang out of the waist band while the other 2 flaps securely tuck in.  Embroidered on the wallets are word of blessings; happiness, good fortune, longevity, 5 generations together.

W220xL300mm, China

A wood block print of the lord of medicine Sun Si Miao, he was a doctor and Taoist priest of the Tang Dynasty.  He is said to live to 140 years old.  However, when he was sickly child, the family used up all their saving to treat his sickness.  Being a very gifted child, he studied all forms of medicine, he dedicated his life to save as many people as he can and refused to become a doctor for the court.  He has made a huge contribution to the Chinese medicine; not only did he wrote the “Thousand Golden Prescriptions”, a complete medical ethics, started gynaecology and pediatrics in Chinese medicine and more.  This is a new year print that would be seen in Chinese medicine clinic.

L60xW30xH30mm, China

This is a small stone carving of a small rat and cucumber.

Does rat like cucumber?

%d bloggers like this: