Archives for the month of: October, 2013

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W70xL210xH25mm, China

Bat biscuit for the halloween?

Unlike the west where the bat is associated with the dracula, the Chinese adores the symbol of the bat.  Being viewed as an icon of blessing, their symbol can be seen everywhere.  The Chinese name for bat is 蝠 ( fu), which sound like the word blessing, 福 (fu), and as bat sleeps upside down 倒 (dao) sharing the same pronunciation as the word arrival, 到 (dao).

Bat hanging upside down = Arrival of blessing

Why would a bat be hanging upside down?

Happy halloween!

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L580xW140xH360mm, L620xW150xH340mm, China

A pair or lions; the lion playing with the xiu qiu is a male and the other with the cub is a lioness.

These pair of wood carving is part of an architectural element, in fact it is part of the bracket that hold up the beam in traditional Chinese architecture.  This highly decorative architectural / structural elements are found in the south, in larger building such as ancestral homes.

In the building the lions would have been view with their tails on the upper part and their heads at the bottom, as in the photo below.

beam carving

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Following on from yesterday’s blog,
hidden by the entrance of the peculiar Parc Monceau is a very fine collection of Asia Art.

A collection of more than 5000 objects collected, between September 1871 to January 1873, by Henri Cernuschi.  It will be some task even for today’s standard, when in the 1870s there were a lack of communication, no planes, internet as such.  Amongst the collection is a 4m tall bronze Amida Buddha.

7 avenue Vélasquez
75008 Paris

(Closed Mondays)

http://www.cernuschi.paris.fr/en/home

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bronze buddha

jean nouvel

green wall

I just had a short holiday in Paris and finally visited the breath taking collection of the Musee Du Quai Branly.

From the Gilles Clément garden to the green wall by Patrick Blanc, from Jean Nouvel’s architecture to its chic mud house interior and needless to say about this collection, the whole place is a piece of art.

king glele statueking gbehanzin statue

Solomon island fish

dog

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One could easily spend a good afternoon there browsing the surperbly presented collection, just the Africian section could endure for more than a couple of hours.  Afterwards treat yourself to a meal at the Bon Accueil which is just behind the museum.

Musee Du Quai Branly
37, quai Branly
75007 Paris
(close monday)

http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/

You can now also find the Han Wan Po at Mountain Folkcraft.

Ha Wan Pao is a monthly paper about people who make beautiful things. whether they’re making comic books, tofu or shoes; what they have in common is the quiet pursuit of excellence.

Ha Wan (下環) is an old name for wanchai – the hong kong neighbourhood where the project was born.

hwp is created by anna gleeson with contributions from furze chan.

Its a very interested paper and we love it, come and get a copy!

Fu Lu SauW180xD80xH360mm, China
(in the order from left to right – Fu Sau, Lu)

In my generation and those before, the blessing trio figurine could be seen at the focal point of all homes.

The three are a combination of all good blessings,
Fu – good fortune,
Lu – prosperity,
Sau – longevity

The three were originally concept of the astrology, stars.
Fu Star – the planet Jupiter
Lu Star – Ursa Majoris
Shu Star – Canopus

In the Ming dynasty the Taoist, attributed the Stars to persons or saintly figures and the three are grouped together to symbolize the idea of a good life ever since.  Perhaps life has become less harsh or simply the flats are much smaller, Fu Lu Sau figurines are seldom seen in homes.

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W70D60H150mm, China

This a a figure of Ne Zha, perhaps the only child deity of China.  His legend, however, is no bed time story.

Ne Zha was born in the Shang dynasty, son of general Li Jing, the miracle drama started the minute he arrived to this world.  After being pregnant for three and a half years, his mother gave birth to a ball of flesh.  General Li thought it was a demon and split the ball opened with his sword, there a boy jumped out of the opened ball.  This boy was Ne Zha, he was already capable of walking and speaking and soon became a disciple of Tai Yi Zhen Ren.  One day in May when he was seven, he took a bath by the sea and disturbed the dragon palace, the Dragon King send his coast guard to see what had happened.  Ne Zha started and argument which turned into a fight and killed the guard, the Dragon Prince came and was also killed (I wont go into the detail of his injuries …)  The dragon king was on his way to complain to Jade Emperor and got beaten up badly by Ne Zha.  The news traveled to the Jade Emperor anyway and the entire family was sentenced to death, General Li and his wife was captured to be executed.  Ne Zha turned himself in and said he is the one who made the mistake and should be the only one being punished, before his execution, he carved out his own flesh and bone to return to his parents.  Moved by his act the Jade Emperor and let his parents lived.

Through a dream Ne Zha asked his mother to build him a temple so there is a place for his soul.  Unlike Lady Li, his father is still upset at Ne Zha and punish his soul, when he found out about the temple he had it burnt.  Ne Zha was angry, with the help of his master he rebuild his body with lotus roots and now armed with the iconic wind Fire Wheels and the Universe Ring.  General Li was saved from Ne Zha by the powerful Rand Deng Dao Ren and the boy finally tamed.

In this figurine, he is holding the Universe Ring, the Fire Wheels are replaced by the typical dragon and tiger that the junk boat god rides.

Ne Zha was worshiped by the fisherman for his power to control even the dragon king who is in charge of the sea.

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A chant for inviting Ne Zha to the temple.

mirror paintingW320xH420mm, China

A mirror painting of a still life.

Though unintentional by the artist, there is something rather modern about the painting; the lack of shadow, the flatten objects, the solid colour, lack of detail and the sharp outline of the objects.

 Reminded me of Patrick Caulfield’s work.

wood block printW220xL300mm, China

A new year wood block print of the God of Wealth, Zhou Gong Ming.  It is believed that Zhou was born in humble family in the Qing dynasty.  As a young he worked as a labourer for a wood merchant, being honest, generous and hard working he was popular.  Soon he was able to start his own wood business and accumulated a good deal of wealth.  Zhou would lend money to those who need them; one merchant borrowed some money and made a lost at a natural disaster, Zhou only asked him to return a pair of chopstick for the money owned.  At time of war, Zhou used his own money to fund an army in support of his country and headed the army himself.  He bravery was well known and even tamed a troubled tiger as a pet.  In most of the God of wealth icon, this black tiger is at his company, here you can see it half hidden inside his coat.  Because of his generosity and bravery he was worshipped after his death and named the God of Wealth.

Click here to see our other items of the God of Wealth and the mystical version of his life.

four season flower bowl four season flower bowlDIA160xH60mm, China

The four season flowers, Narcissus, Lotus, Chrysanthemum, Plum Blossom, were a popular decoration for pottery and other works of art.  They symbolizes a good fortune for all the four seasons.

Click to see the other four season flowers pottery ware.

The four seasons are appreciated all over the world, here is Mutter’s amazing performance on Vivaldi.