Archives for the month of: September, 2012

W900xH1040mm, Hong Kong

This is a modern door god design by my father, this is a silk screen print on a cloth, the traditional door gods are wood block print to be posted on the doors to offer blessing and protection to the household.

One of the legend for the origin of the door god goes like this; according to the Qin geographical documentation “Shan Hai Jing”, in midst of the ocean there is a mountain, there stood a giant peach tree which spread over 3000 miles.  At the north east is the door to the dark world where the ghosts go in and out. Over this door stood 2 gods – Shen Shu and Yu Lv, their duty is to censor the good and the bad ghosts, the evil ghosts will be thrown down the mountain to feed tiger.  The character here is Yu Lv,  brother of the Shen Shu, the pair are the legendary ghost busters.

W65xL3200mm, China

Like the colourful band in the previous post, this black and white woven band is also a band of blessing.  The Miao tribe reside on the hillside where they are constantly harassed by the snakes; once upon a time, a snake attacked a girl by wrapping its body on her, a young lad came to her rescue.  The two soon fell in love, the girl woven a band for the young man as a sign of their love.  One day as they were travelling together they came across another snake who was ready to attack, the lad used the band, wiggle it to imitate the snake and led the snake back into the woods.  Since then, it was believed that the band would protect them from snake and all evils and the woven band became popular for the Miao.

W200xH600mm, Indonesia

This shadow puppet is Tualen, the father of Merdah, they are both servants of Rama.  Tualen used to be a god but he was punished for a mistake he made and was send down from heaven to be a human with black skin.  Being a god, Tualen is wise and kind.  The Balinese believe that by giving their baby holy water of Tualen, their child will be wise like Tualen.

W40xD40xH80, China

Every time I see this snuff bottle I feel as if this ought to be a bottle for some cold remedy.  The red cap on the monkey’s head reminded me an emergency siren or more the flashing light of the ultraman.

W50xL120xH50mm, China

Its really a surprise to find this tin toy, it is intriguing in a couple of sense.  First, thought China has been a major manufacturer or tin toy since the 1920s, the design of the toy has broadly based on the original western themes (robots, cars, ships, objects which for the Chinese would have been deemed western).  This toy, a lion, has departed from the normal tin toy design.  For those who has seen a lion (photo, on telly, zoo or safari) would have said that this look at best a silly green monster and nothing like a lion at all.  This however has all the features a Chinese lion would have.

Now for the second surprise; there are no lions in China (not naturally there).  The idea of lion come together with Buddhism as an animal of power, the lion is as mythical as the kirin.  Since there are no lions, the Chinese do not see it as a predictor but as a protector against evil.  They can be seen guarding the front doors, on the ridge of a building, lion dances for New Year.  So fond of it that the male lion will normally been given a xiu qiu to play with.

DIA220xH350mm, Thailand

This earthenware is from Dan Kwian, the pottery village in Thailand.  The pottery there is known for its rust like colour which is the result from the high iron oxide content in the clay that were used.  The clay are collected from the nearby Moon River where the Kha tribe used to live, it is believed that they were the original potter of the area.  The style and shape of the pottery has been passed down and even now traditional technique are still used by the potters.

W900xH2200mm, China

This silk embroidery painting is a traditional gift for birthday of a lady of high social status.  In figure in the embroidery is the saint Ma Gu and the phoenix (queen of all birds) going to give her best wishes the Queen Mother of the West (the supreme head of all female saints) for her birthday.  On the tray that she is going to present to the Queen Mother has a few of the magic peaches which are believed to take 3000 years to flower, 3000 to bare fruits and another 3000 years to ripe, a bite of it will make one immortal.  The peach is a symbol of longevity, it was also featured in God of Longevity.

Unfortunately the closest we can get to the magic peach is through pottery, carving and paintings, but if you would like to try the worldly version, it is known as the Saturn Peach (Prunus persica f. compressa), they will not make you immortal but they are super delicious.

L210xD130xH60mm, China

This is a celadon daffodil bowl, yes celadon is not limited to the pale jade green glaze, it also can be white, grey, blue or yellow.  The cracks on the bowl are only on the glazing itself and has no impact to the bowl, this characteristic is known as crackle glaze.  This effect for the randomness which mimic nature has been appreciated by the Chinese since the Sung dynasty.  However, this texture started off as a defect in the firing process; the clay and the glaze having a different expansion ratio.  This crackle style is known as “a hundred broken pieces”.

For more about daffodil, click on Blue Glazed Narcissus Bowl.

W250xD250xH400mm, China

This is a double deck bamboo basket for food storage.  It is for carrying food stuff goodies as a gift for relative and friends, a kind of xmas hamper.  Upon receiving the gift a red packet thank you note would be sent back to the sender.

Found this really nice video about the journey to the Miao tribe, just want to share!  Enjoy!