Archives for the month of: February, 2014

figurineL160xD100xH120mm, China

This figurine is by the famous pottery area Shi Wan; their figurines are typical to have a glazeless delicate facial and hand depiction while contrasting with an expressive and bold glazing on the clothing.

The drunken poet, Li Bai, is a popular subject for figurine, paintings, etc., apart from his literary stature, his love for drinking also give a character for the artisan to express.



The poem “Drinking Alone under the Moon” by Li Bai, translation by W. Bynner

From a pot of wine among the flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me—
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
But still for a while I had these friends.

To cheer me through the end of spring . . .
I sang. The moon encouraged me.
I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
. . . Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars.


metal lionsW90xL200xH180, China

A pair of suan ni, with smoke coming out of their mouths!

Like the Tao Tie, Suan Ni is one of the sons of the dragon (the 8th son).  Unlike the Tao Tie who adores food, the Suan Ni is a patient creature that loves the smoke from the incense.  He can be found on the large incense burners and also as a carrier for the Bodhisattva Manjusri.

These Suan Ni are a pair of incense burners, flip open the head, place the incense, light it, flip the head back and enjoy their smokey conversations.

metal lion

bowlDIA155xH60mm, China

A simple bowl, the colour of the glazed is almost the colour of nature itself.

This bowl has been buried underground and unearthed, the artificial colour, glossiness and form seems to be tamed by nature itself.

paper boxW120xD130xH140mm, Japan

  A small paper drawer for storing accessories, the outside of the box is decorated with Japanese paper.  I like the details that is put into the box, the edges of the drawers are covered with a tougher brown paper and metal draw pull just complete the miniature version.

paper box

japanese cabinet

bird cageW210xD210xH220mm, China

Birdcages from China can be classified broadly into the northern and the southern type.  This distinction by region can also be seen in the shape of the cages as well; northern birdcages are typically circular with a flat top, known as the Tianjin style, the southern types are cubic in shape with the bottom slightly larger than the top, known as the Suzhou style.  Suzhou is a province with Gangnam, so I guess we can say this is Gangnam Style.

In the old days birds are probably a more common pet for the Chinese than dogs and cats (who has a duty to guard or to catch mice), birds are there just for appreciation.  The birdcages are the habitat, carrier as well as the stage for the birds.  Their light mobility provide the bird with different settings; on the table, hang on the beam, on tree, transported to the teahouse of the park to meet other birds, etc, etc.

A very  sweet film about a bird, though it is cage it is not held captive.  The fledgling was found fallen off its nest and its feather was damaged, unable to fly.  For a few days it was kept in a birdcage for the feather to recover, as if the intention has been understood, the mother came constantly to feed her young in the cage.  Then second video is when the bird was released and successfully flew.

wood block print

W360xL330mm, China

It is believed that Tai Shang Lao Jun is the spiritualization of Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism.  He is one of the Three Pure Ones, together with Yuan Shi Tian Zun and Ling Boa Tian Zun, they formed the Taoist trinity forms the fundamental of Taoism.  Tai Shang Lao Jun is the body of Taoism, the origin of Chi (the heaven and the earth), the nature system and order.

bamboo sculpture DIA100xH400mm, Hong Kong

A bamboo sculpture by the Hong Kong artist Bik Cheun Ha (1925-2009).

He started his career as a craft artisan, for his love of creation he became as self taught contemporary artist.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art featured a retrospective exhibition -“From Common to Uncommon – the Legend of Ha Bik-chuen” in 2011.

japanese wood block print

W310xH220, Japan

A limited comtempory Japanese wood block print by the artist Masaya, entitled the New Green.



DIA80xH60mm, China

This small wine cup is decorated with all the lucky symbols.

One the outside of the cup, are 5 red BATS circling the word LONGEVITY, next to it is a large green BAT hanging from it are a couple of GOLD COINS.  On the inside of the cup, there is a LOTUS leave at the bottom with LOTUS BLOSSOMS on the side.

BAT – the word BAT (蝠 fu) have the same pronunciation as the word (福fu), symbolizing being blessed.
LONGEVITY – needs no further explanation
GOLD COINS – wealth
LOTUS BLOSSOM – the lotus plant grows on muddy ponds, the idea that such beautiful flowers can appear untained by the mud resembles purity

fabric stensil2fabric stensil2


This cute little wood carving is in fact a tool, a wood block stencil for fabric printing in India, bunta.  The stencil is painstakingly carved out from a solid piece of wood guiding only by a rough piece of paper template.  Here is how they are made.

Check out our other bunta.

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