Archives for the month of: April, 2012

W120xD100xH200mm, China

In the old days when free love was forbidden in China, all marriage proposals has to go through a matchmaker.  Even when the couples are already in love with each other, one would still have to go through a matchmaker in order to make the marriage a proper one.  The job of the matchmaker seems to be only opened to woman, apart from the proposing, they are also responsible for presenting the information of both families.  In order to make the deal, the positive points are often emphasised and the weakness carefully put.  Acting as the communicator for both families, she is also the   co-ordinator, MC, organiser for the wedding.

The head of the figurine nods and the body wobbles resembling the matchmaker lady saying all the goodness about the marriage.  The fan, of course, is the essential tool for the matchmaker, making sure everyone would stay cool during the big day.

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W100xD100xH200mm, China

Today, the 8th day of lunar April, is the birthday of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama).  According to the legend, on the night when Siddhartha was conceive, his mother Queen Maya has a dream.  In her dream there was a white elephant with 6 tusks holding a lotus flower went circling around her 3 times and then entered her right side.  The next morning Queen Maya told King Suddhodana the story and the King summoned the wise men to decipher the dream.  It was predicted that the child would become a great king or a Buddha (the enlighten one).

This is a wooden figurine of the Buddha, the third eye (spiritual awakening) of the Buddha is represented by the inlay of a tiny pearl.

If you happens to be in Hong Kong click here and join in the celebration.

W600xL600mm, China

This cushion cover is made with the “seat” portion of a baby carrier used by the Bia tribe.  This carrier is made with the patchwork technique, the coin pattern is made by folding strip of cloth into an oval shape and stitch over a colour patchwork.  Traditionally patchwork is a blessing for a baby, mother would made a patchwork duvet using clothes gathered from a varies families, wishing the child will have the blessing from these families.

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.

DIA180mm, Thailand

This is a buffalo bone necklace from Thailand, the beads are not finely polished giving a more natural wooden look.  The hook and closure are made with buffalo horn.  Buffalo has been a part of the traditional Thai agricultural for a long time, they helped to do the laboriousness task of ploughing the paddy field, a treasure livestock for the farmers.  The horns, bones and hide are used for many traditional crafts.

Textile width 380mm, China

We have a collection of the fabric from the Miao tribe, as they are hand woven, unlike the machine woven fabric, their textile width is quite narrow.  They are cotton fabric that would be normally used for making garments for the tribe.

W150xD100xH200mm, China

The Chinese cabbage (Brassica Pekinensis) is a basic vegetable consumed by the whole of China, it is not surprising that it will be come a subject for folkart.  This pottery cabbage is a wall hanging vase.  Chinese cabbage has been documented in Chinese history since the San Guo period (220AD), it became a popular vegetable together with the turnip by 600AD.

W150xH170mm, Indonesia

This is Penthul, friend of  Tembem.  They are masks for the Jathilan folk dance, a Javanese hobby horse trance dance for exorcising evil spirits showing a battle between good and evil.   Jathilan dance is performed to celebrate harvest, weddings; originally it was a rite of passage to adulthood, the child whole mimic riding a horse and crossing over to become an adult.

Penthul and Tembem appears in the first act of the dance, they are the princes from the Kediri Kingdom who were faced by the forest spirits who attacked theirs soldier sending them into a trance.

L130xW50xH150mm, China

This is not a figurine on a merry go round but in fact a warrior at war.  The themes of golden lacquered wood carving are usually based on stories in Chinese operas.  This figurine is most probably from a decorative wall hangers depicting the fighting scene.

DIA80xW120xH120, China

This is a container for the oil used for the oil lamp.  A very common item in the old days when oil lamp is the only form of lighting for the common people.  In China, the fuel used for the lamps would be tung oil – oil obtained from the seed of the tung tree (Vernicia Fordii).  During the second world war when food is scarce, dishonest merchants would sell cooking oil mixed with tung oil.  As the two oil have different density, the cooking oil would be floated on top, once the thin layer of oil is used, the customers will discover they have in fact paid a premium for the cheap tung oil.  Worse of all the food cooked would be spoiled and everyone would get an upset tummy.  :(