Archives for the month of: July, 2013

embroidery walletW200xL100mm, China

Similar to the western wallet which began its life as a knapsack for carrying articles not restricting to money, the Chinese wallet too start as a bag for keeping items like handkerchief, seals and of course money.  The use of the wallet dated back to the Han dynasty, on the Bezeklik cave painting, 12th century CE, one can see Uyghur princes dressed in Chinese style robes and hanging wallets on their waists.  As time goes by the shape and decoration of the wallet became more and more elaborated.



W700xH1400mm, China

This costume belonged to the wizard of the minority Dong tribe.  In the villages of Guang Xi area, each village will have their own wizard, whom like Harry Potter are passed down from generations of wizards.  The wizard would make offering to the gods as well as casting away the evil ghosts.  Life in the villages are harsh, whenever sickness or other misfortune fell on a family, they would asked the wizard to see if the place needed cleansing.


bowlDIA125xH60mm, China

This bowl bring back a lot of childhood memory for me, I remember it containing this delicious red bean paste desert.

In the old days, these type of bowls are used by the hawker street stalls, “dai pai dong”, which has long been replaced by plastic bowls.  Tung Po, my favorite place, is probably the only dai pai dong that still using similar bowls.  The use of the bowls are not more sophisticated, they are chilled and beer is served for drinking challenges.


hatRIM DIA160mm, China

On the Tea Horse Route, there are gangs of horse cavavanners who take up the job for transporting goods through the network of narrow mountain pathway from Yunnan.  Their routes connects Beijing and other big Chinese cities to Tibet, South East Asia, India, Africa and Europe.  They were the main form of trade transport before the arrival of railways and roads.  Nevertheless, even today, they cavavanners are still the main porters for the Pu Erh tea of Yunnan.

The life of the cavavanners take up a lot of hardship; camping at where ever they stop, taking care of the goods and the horses, facing all sorts of danger and unexpected danger on their journey.  All these made the groups unite and willful, not only do they look out for their gang members but also other gangs.  The palm fiber hat is part of the gang costume that unified the group.


DIA100xH400mm, China

This is a bamboo weaved basket used for chabana, flower arrangement for tea ceremony.  The flower arrangement would be placed in the alcove of the room, using a seasonal flowers, narrow and tall vase made of natural material such as bamboo, ceramics or metal.  The flower arrangement is also less formal than Ikebana, using little or decorative fillers material.  Chabana developed from the Ikebana style Nageire, where flowers are thrown into the vase giving the viewer the same impression as they would have if they had been in the wild.  The simple arrangement would have one single blossom, arranged to be leaning toward the guest.


DIA100xH60mm, China

Tea drinking is a social activities but it can also be a personal indulgence.  This type of teapots were made to be drank directly from the sprout while holding the handle in the opposite direction with the sprout facing oneself.  They are much appreciated by the scholars, an object of desire to be fondle with by the eye, the touch and suckle of  fragrant tea.   It would perhaps be comparable to a beloved pipe which one would enjoy touching and mouthing.


clay toy

W 130D50xH130mm, China

Clay figurines are a popular toy for adults and childern allover China and could be dated back to over 5000 years.  In the area of  Xu Zhou, clay figurines of dogs, pigs, rooster, duck and even houses were found in Neolithic sites.  The tradition continues and was the most established in the Ming and Qing dynasty more subject matter were covered.  The more natural non coloured version were favored by intellectuals while the mono white and black version are amulet figures.  This figurine being decorated with colour is toy tiger.

Click here to see our other tiger clay toy.

window lattice

W460xH1030mm, China

   These wooden window lattices belonged to the houses of Hui Zhou, an area with elaborated civilian architecture brought on by the wealth of the successful merchants in the area.  The Hui style architecture is unique, a combination of the local stilt houses and official northern courtyard houses, suiting to the southern climate, resulted in 2 stories courtyard houses with the living area directly opened to the inner courtyard with no wall or door in between, hence the courtyard which open up to the sky becomes part of the living area.  This pair of window lattice would have been used for the ground floor bedroom facing the living area.  They would have belonged to a humble family, though the craftsmanship is not as elaborated as that of the Yin Yu Tang, it is entirely put together by notches and without the use of a single nail.

See the Yin Yu Tang, a house transported from Hui Zhou to the  Peabody Essex Museum.

Yang Liu Qing

W1150xH670mm, China

This old Yang Liu Qing print, depicted a scene from a Tang dynasty poem, 商山早行 Morning Journey At Shang Shan.


After a restless night thinking of my home town, I woke up with the hurrying bells of the inn.
The rooster crow at the frailing moon, on the frost cover bridge left the footprints of the travelers.
The down hill road is covered by wilting plants, orange flower shines out on the inn wall.
Seeing the sunrise, I thought of my dreams of ansers returning to the pond, maybe too I can see my family soon.

The people on the print, however, described another story;

人家骑马我骑驴,回头再看推车汉,比上不足 比下有余!

I ride a donkey and look up to those who ride a horse, but looking at the cart pusher I feel content.

brush standW140xD30xH70mm, China

An essential stationary for the scholar, a brush rest for the temporary resting of the brush, as well as the mind.  When the job is done, the brush will be hung vertically to let gravity dry up the brush evenly.  There are many shapes for the brush rest but the mountain is one of the popular form, they can be made from coral, agate, crystal, jade to more common material such as wood and ceramic.

%d bloggers like this: