Archives for the month of: May, 2012

Big Fish – L200xH120mm, China

A modern bag for childern, a small red fish for pocket money and a big fish for all the other goodies.  The small fish is like to the big fish, so however hard its tries it will always be swallowed by the big fish …


L770xW300xH120mm, China

The Yangqin is Chinese hammered dulcimer, however, the original  instrument was imported from Persia in the Ming dynasty (around 1580).  A similar instrument was very popular in Europe during the 14th century which later inspired the invention of the harpsichord, clavichord, piano forte, and eventually the piano.  There are many different types of Yangquin, the one we have here is a Butterfly Yangqin which is similar to the origin version, it is smaller and only has 2 bridges.  Its sound range is limited to the natural note (the sound from the white keys of the piano).  This yangqin has a lacquered box with beautifully gold painting of the 8 Saints, the instrument  is a bit worn out and would require some fixing and tuning before it can be played.  The instrument was made the the Guangdong Ya Yun Leu.

Performance of the Ode to Yellow River with the Yangqin

Same piece performed on the piano by Lang Lang

W380xH470mm, Tibet

This is a Tibetan Mandala (dkyilvkhor), originally it was a Hindu stage for meditation, it was later made also in the form of a painted work.  This tradition was also practiced by Buddhism.  The Mandala is the concept of the universe held the different religion; for meditation it is used for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts and creating a sacred space for the mind.

W75xH200mm, China

This small piece of silk embroidery (which we have framed) was taken from a children’s underwear (Du Dou).  The Du Dou is an undergarment for cover the chest and tummy, its a rectangular or square piece of cloth to be worn diagonally with the top corner trimmed for the neck.  2 strings affixed to the top corner is tied around the neck while the 2 strings attached to the side corners are tied around the back.  The embroidery patterns for children are of the theme of blessing; tiger is one of them.  Tiger is seen as an animal of strength and power, it has been worship for its protection; it is believed that evils will be frighten away when embroidery that has been wrapped around a child.  The tiger Du Dou is traditionally worn by all the children and babies on Duan Wu (the day of ills).

W60xL160xH100mm, China

Every child seem to have a horsy toy at some stage, whether they are big or small, rocking  or ride able.  This is the Chinese version made with clay and like most of the clay toy it is also a whistle making a horse like sound.  I like this particularly over the other clay toys as it looks half sleepy and totally silly.

H500xW150mm, China

This puppet is called a Chaozhou wire puppet, the body of the puppet is supported by a main wire attached to the back of waistline of the puppet while the 2 arms are controlled by 2 wires attached to the waists, hence wire puppet, all the 3 wires are controlled by the puppeteer at the back stage.

There are over 2000 repertoires for the chaozhou wire puppet, these are roughly divided into 3 main themes; adaptation from the southern Chinese opera, local legends and historical stories.  This puppet has the warrior helmet featured in the blog a couple of days ago, a female warrior figure.

W70xD60xH270mm, Borneo, Indonesia

This is a hampatong from Borneo, the Dayak tribes create these wooden figurines portraying humans, animals and supernatural creatures.  The hampatongs can be broadly divided into two types; the tajahan (ancestral figures) and pataho (guardian figures for protecting the tribe).  This particular figurine is a tajahan.  Each figures are have their own function and meaning, for the tajahan figures the craftman would capture the details of the particular ancestor.  The animal on which the ancestor is sitting on is most likely to be a goat is believed to be sacred.  This is a protective amulet of a male ancestor sitting on a chair. the bread are made from coconut husk.

W50mmxD30mmxH70mm, China

In the old days, every morning the ink will be grind on the inkstone.  Water will be added so the ink stick will be dissolved, water is also added during the day to dilute the ink on the stone.  For the ease of controlling the flow water, the water drip was invented.

This water drip of child and carp figurine which would have been made for children; the composition is a traditional one of blessing, carp being resilient and full of vitality which is what every parents would wish for their child.    Also see our earlier entry for a different form of  water drip .

W300xH300mm, China

This is the head piece for Chinese opera, a crown used by the female warrior character, resembling the fighter’s helmet.  It has one layer of pompons and thus known as word one crown (the chinese word for one is 一, a simple horizontal line)

Due to the age of this piece, some of its tassels and a few of the pompons have gone missing.  The blue ornaments on the head piece are made from kingfisher feathers, tian tsui, a precious material.  The kingfisher bird has an amazing blue colour, however the intense colour is not from the pigment of the feather but from the reflection of the light.  Each piece of feather is painstakingly cut and inlay onto a metal gilt.   A relatively thin sheet of precious metal (gold or silver) is formed, gold or silver wires are bent according to the design and placed on the edge of this area, then small pieces of the feather is glued into the recess area.

Textile width 380mm, China

This checker fabric is from the Bu Yi tribe in China, they are famous for their hand woven checker pattern fabric and their wax dyed fabric, they are one of the remain tribes whom the tradition of cloth weaving remains a strong tradition.  The checker pattern cloth is used for head wrap, bed sheet and clothing; though they are all checkers, the use are very specific.  Each pattern has its own story, this particular cloth is for making clothes.  Instead of going online or glue to the telly, girls of the Bu Yi tribe would weaving as their past time during the evening; the motivation comes from the preparation of the dowry which has to include the minimum of bed sheets, duvet cover, 10 costumes.

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