Archives for the month of: November, 2012

W100xD70xH180mm, Macau

The courageous looking figurine, riding on a tiger on the right and stepping on a dragon on the left is in fact an ancestral saint of the fisherman of Hong Kong.  For the Chinese both the dragon and tiger are creature of power, being able to control them would give extraordinary strength.  These ancestral saint are kept and worshiped on the junk boat by the Tanka tribe for keeping safe their journey at sea.

See our other junk boat gods; Tanka Wooden EffigyJunk Boat God (god?), Junk Boat God, Crane Riding Mother Saint

W330xH430mm, China

Verre eglomise is a technique which dated back to Roman time as early as 400AD and revived in Europe in varies different centuries.  The French term was attributed by the french decorator Jean-Baptise Glomy who made it popular again in the 18th Century.  Verre eglomise was introduced to China from the west in the Qing dynasty, it quickly took on as a home decorative object for the wealthy and riches.  By the end of the Qing dynasty  it has been adapted as a popular craft form in China, so much that they were also for exports back to Europe.

W230xD230xH270mm, China

This is an octagon tea cosy, it was used as an insulator for the ceramic and metal teapot which gets cold easily.  The small opening is for the spout of the teapot while the top two is for the lock of the lid which unfortunately is missing.

Here is another tea cozy made with bamboo.

L250xW70mm, China

This is a pair of embroidery shoes of the Miao tribe (for more about Miao tribe shoes, see our earlier post, Embroidery Shoes).  Today I would like to concentrate on the cloth sole of the shoes which is entirely handmade.  Before rubber and leather sole became popular in China, most of the soles are made with cloth, it is a common household practice, even mother remembers making shoes for herself in her childhood.  Here is mom’s instruction:

  1. Save up old clothes and off cuts for a year, so materials are ready for making new shoes for Chinese new year
  2. Cook up some glue with water and rice flour (the Chinese version of wall paper paste)
  3. On a flat board, applied glue to the edge of the board, then stretch the a large piece of cotton cloth, apply a layer of glue over it.  On the second layer place smaller pieces of cloth, avoid any overlapping or gaps, apply a layer.  On the top place a large piece of cotton, avoid creases, applied glue over it.  Let dry for a night
  4. Use a newspaper to trace out the sole of the old pair of shoe, enlarge to suit.  Prepare an addition one for a size larger.
  5. Cut out from the dried cloth pile 6 pieces from the larger template (large filler – LF), 7 from the smaller (small filler – SF) one and 2 smaller pieces for the heel (H).  Put the pieces of the same size together, clamp them and give it a good trim so that they are the same size and shape.  Reverse the template and cut out the soles for the other shoe.
  6. Take a piece from the large filler and mount a piece of cotton, wrapped the edges over to the top.  This will become the bottom layer of the sole (BS), the piece that touches on the ground.  Take the other 6 larger fillers and stick on a cotton piping around it.
  7. Then places the fillers in the order; BS-LF-SF-LF-H-SF-LF-SF-LF-SF-LF-H-SF-LF-SF-SF-SF.  Stitch temporarily to hold them together, clamp it well and sew the edge with hemp string (you will need an awl for this).  Then make uniform and small stitiches (as seen in the photo) throughout the whole of the sole.
  8. The completed sole is then brushed with warm water and covered with a blanket overnight.
  9. The next morning, the sole is compressed with a mallet and air dried.
  10. Now the sole is complete, all you need to do is the upper shoes and of course the embroidery …

W140xH140mm, Hong Kong

Its about time to write your X’mas cards, check out our newly designed cards!

W40xD50xH100mm, China

This glove puppet head is of the character Gong Guang, belonging to the Jing (painted face) category, a supporting actor in today’s term but always representing a figure who is upright, loyal, strong and fearless of high power, it is denoted by the word Guang and the red face (gong).   He would play the character of a courageous warrior  such as JianWei of the 3 Kingdom.

The puppet is carved out from a single piece of wood and with hand painted features.

W720xH450mm, China

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a sixpence in her shoe

Now how can we have Something Old Something New and not an item about wedding.  This is part of a wedding gown for rural China, this would be the shawl for the bride.  For the common folks, the bride would have wear her hair in a bun and covered with a red cloth, the clothing would be in red with similar pattern as the shawl, on the bottom she would wear a pair of simple red pants.  The shawl is embroidered with patterns of blessing, quite different from the blessing of the west but a blessing nonetheless.

Fabric lovers!  For the joint venture of Soil X Mountain Folkcraft, Something Old Something New, Mountain Folkcraft is holding a fabric exhibition.  Hand woven fabric such as ikat,lime bean paste resist dye, wax resist dye, brocade, tie dye, discharge dye, patchwork.  Also featuring are the creations by artists from Soil; Cotton Car, Denise Chan, Furze and Seung.

Come visit us!

W360xH360mm, Hong Kong

For the joint venture of Soil X Mountain Folkcraft – Something Old Something New, artist Denise Chan has created a padded bag using traditional hand woven fabric from her collection.

The padded bag is perfect for carrying ipad or netbooks.

Denise is from Paiwan 台湾排灣族, an aboriginal tribe of Taiwan. Her interest on handwoven fabrics starts from her collection on minority costume. She is not only a collector by has also become a craft designer.

DIA150mm, China

This item selected by Furze for the Something Old Something New exhibition and is available at both Mountain Folkcraft and Soil.

There is something non-Chinese about this plate, I thought.  Looking up exports chinaware, it is no where to be found.  Perhaps its the shape of the plate, I thought.  Then I was surprised to find out, thought not a common form, the shape has been around since the Sung dynasty.  Chinaware, blue and white, a common Chinese theme of flower and bird, a form that goes back 1000 years it seems that there should be nothing none Chinese about it.  On further research, it seems that the form of certain pottery and metal ware were heavily influenced by the import of Persian silverware in the Tang dynasty, the polylobed  shape is one of them.

Ming dynasty pottery polylobed dish

Tang dynasty polylobed silver court wine cup, Nanjing Museum

Persian silver polylobed cup of the 11th Century