Archives for the month of: August, 2013

comb

L130xW50mm, China

Ever wonder how a wooden comb is made?

In the days when hair washing is not a daily event, the combs acted as a tool for cleaning of the hair.  Dust, dandruff, lices and any knots and tangles are all sorted.

bed alcove

Come to see our selection of furniture!

bowl

bowlDIA120xH50mm, China

This pair of octagonal bowls are decorated with goldfish, a traditional blessing symbol.  Gold 金 (Jin) Fish 魚 (Yu), the word “fish” shares the same pronunciation with the word surplus 餘 (Yu).  A lot of chinese decoration symbols follow the play of homophone, these might all be a bit superstitious and arbitrary but in the days of old rural China when  life is hard, these kind of blessing is an expression hope for a better life.  Even in today’s world, these kind of subtle tradition carries on e.g. in Hong Kong, an Empty 空(Hung) Residence 宅 (Zaak) would be call a Blessed 吉(Ji) Residence, as the word “emtpy” 空(Hung) has the same pronunciation as 兇 (Hung) – a murder house.  Changing a word that make no sense to the original meaning just for the sake of avoiding a bad homophone.

Anyway, ain’t these goldfish the cutest?!

maskW145xH210mm, Indonesia

 This is a mask of Jinggananom,  a rebellious fighter in the masked dance of Topeng Cirebon, the masked dance of West Java.

The Cirebon masked dance describes the disposition of human life;
Panji Dance (the perfect human, fair, wise and doing good deeds),
Samba Dance (procession, lust and glamour)
Tumenggung Dance (a warrior’s loyality, heroism and dedication)
Rumyang Dance
Kelana Dance (greeds and ambition)

Two touching documentary tributed to the late maestro Mimi Rasinah.

washi coster

W150xL150mm, Japan

A simple coaster made of handmade Japanese paper, washi.  The paper is treated with water resistant coating to make the coaster more durable.  It is part of the collection from the Otake Japanese Paper Workshop in Hiroshima, the workshop is set up to promote and to continue the art of Japanese handmade paper.

paintingW260xL750mm, China

This painting consists of illustration of the epic Ming dynasty novel “Journey To The West” which is described the journey monk Xuan Zang and his three disciples Sun Wu Kong (monkey), Zu Ba Jie (pig) and  Sha Jing (saint banished to the mortal world) took to the West to find the holy scripts.

I remembered as a child, the novel has been an entire summer’s entertainment.
Here is one of the many adventure described in the book.

golden wood carvingW60xL90xH130mm, China

This is a figurine of the character Fan Li Hua, one of the four famous Chinese female warriors (Hua Mu Lan, Mu Gui Ying and Qiu Jin).

Fan Li Hua is the beautiful daughter of a border general, well treated in military tactic and martial art, married to General Xue Ding Shan, she was also a general herself and pacified the western counties in the Tang dynasty.  The story of Fan Li Hua has been made into opera, “Fan Jiang Guan”.  The story began with Emperor and General Xue’s father trapped by the enemy in the town, Suo Yang Cheng.  The mother of General Xue has send a message for Fan to help with situation, at the same time, the twin sister of Xue has arrived with the army supply.  At this point, Xue’s sister has a strategic dispute with Fan Li Hua (who by then is already a General).  The spoiled sister-in-law started a fight, though no match against Fan wanted the upper hand.  Fan uses her wit and managed to calm the household as well as rescuing the Emperor.

embroidery

DIA250mm, China

This embroidery was taken from a du dou, a traditional Chinese under garment.  Du dou for men and children are mostly decorated with embroidery, normally by the mother or the lover.  This embroidery is one from the mother to the child, the pattern of the embroidery is filled with object of blessing.

In the middle is a TIGER, representing bravery.
Surrounding the tiger are 6 treasures (from 12 o’clock);

GOURD – charm against evils,
BOOKS – wisdom
FAN – inject life into the dead (one of the treasures of the 8 Immortals)
XIU QIU – love
SCISSOR – charm against evils
RHINOCEROS HORN – victory
PAINTINGS – scholarly

cookie mouldW120xL230xD20mm, China

This is a wooden mould for making the famous red peach guo.  Guo is Chaozhou dumpling that is made for festivals as well as for everyday snacks.  The peach shaped guo reserved for festive days like the Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid Autumn Festival, Winter Solstice, they are also made for the new born baby by the grandma on its hundred days’ celebration.

The peach shape symbolizes longevity, it is again emphasized by the word “壽” in the middle of the mould.

Here is the master mould carver working on a turtle shape guo mould.

DIA190xH160mm, China

 This beautiful painted pot is a container for rice porridge (congee), a nourishing dish for the elderly.  Though this is an object that would only be found in wealthy families, it seems that elaborated  decoration and the specific usage might have another reason other than the utilitarian one.  The Chinese name for the congee pot is 粥罐 “zhou guan” which has the same pronunciation as 做官 “zuo guan” (being a court official, which is the desire of all commoners).  For this reason, these shape of pots 罐 are view more highly than that of vases and though has an everyday function are highly decorative.  Congee also is a easily digested meal which promotes longevity.  In this sense the congee pot is seen as an item of blessing and thus had a special place in a household.

Now if you are interested in making congee to go with the pot, here is how they make it in the best congee place in Hong Kong.

And this is how you can make it at home in 5 mins!