Archives for the month of: July, 2014

bamboo ladleDIA120xL360mm, China

Before there are plastic or stainless steel drainers, the one made with bamboo is a household item.  Bamboo is a faster growing plant, a material that was employed in most household objects; chairs, sieves, baskets etc.  The technique of bamboo weaving became a special craft in China and Japan alike, but with the arrival of newer material such as plastic, the craft of bamboo weaving is becoming a dying art.

The bamboo strainer is perfect for making noodles.


golden wood carvingL350xD25xH130, China

This golden wood carving used to be center pediment of an ornamental object, perhaps on small shrine in a temple.

On the carving, there are 2 dragons chasing after a pearl.  Dragons are believed to be mythical creatures from the sky, they need to attain a certain quality to become a saint.  After a few hundred years, the essence of what they have learnt from nature would become a pearl like pellet.  The dragon would spit out the pearl for it absorb the spirit of nature and the bigger the pearl would grow.  One day while a dragon was practicing with his pearl, another dragon decided to take this pearl to speedup his own attainment. The bad dragon spit out his pearl hoping it would absorb the other, the two pearls melted and became one giant pearl, both dragons wanted to take it in and started using all their tricks.  Their fight upset the nature of the universe and the Jade Emperor took them in and set the pearl on the temple which would be protected by the dragons for good

dollW130xH220mm, China

A gentle fabric doll dressed in indigo dye costume.

Here is the local designer Furze‘s abstract version.

W140xD160mm, Hong Kong

A small portfolio decorated with a piece of embroidery filled with blessing symbols.

The cow in the middle of the embroidery is known as a Spring Cow, it is part of the Chinese New Year traditional that has been passed down since 800B.C.  The figure of a cow would be made with straws and mud, a day before (Li Chun – the first day of spring in the 24 solar terms) it would be brought to front gate of the town where it would be whipped by all the notable of the town or village.  The ritual is believed to wake up the Spring Cow, the passing of the freezing winter, the start of agriculture and the gone with winter ailmnet.  With us city dwellers who are far away from the farmland and the fields, the only Spring Cow we will see is perhaps the one printed at the back of the Tung Shing which gives us prediction of the year’s weather.  Well, for this year will is suppose to be drought, we seems to be getting a lot of rain so far.

Around the Spring Cow are blessing objects;

@12 o’clock –  yellow moon, an object of worship,
@2 o’clock – the double trapezium, Fang Sheng, the hairstyle of the Queen Mother of the West, has the ability to pacify,
@5 o’clock – rhino horn, resembling victory,
@7 o’clock – scroll of  books and painting, wisdom
@10 o’clock – the 3 blessed star Fu Lu Shou,
@11 o’clock –  in form of a white cloud shape is Ru Yi, “as you wished”.

wood block print

W320xH240mm, China

There are different new year print for different blessings, for fertility, longevity, health, prosperity, etc.  This particular one is for the livestock and the working cart; sitting in the middle the guy with 3 eyes is Hua Guang, one of the 4 Taoist Saints, a powerful warrior against evils.  On both sides of him are 2 banners, 牛馬平安 (blessing to the ox and horses), 日進斗金 (daily income of 100g of gold).


The white coloured face most often denote a villain in the Chinese opera.

This is a mask of the Qin dynasty prime minister Zhau Gao.  In the opera story, “Yu Zhou Feng” (Sword of the Universe) happened in a time during the regime of Emperor Qin Er Shi.  Zhau Gao and Kuang  Hong was in laws, with Zhau’s daughter married into Kuang’s family.  Kuang showed his displeased about how Zhau was manipulating the Emperor caused revenge from Zhau.  He has someone stole the well known Sword of the Universe from Kuang and had faked an attempt assassination of the Emperor.  Thinking that it was Kuang, the Emperor ordered the execution of the Kuang family.  Kuang’s son escaped while his wife Yan Rong (Zhau’s daughter) returned to his father’s home.  The Emperor seeing the beautiful Yan Rong and wanted to have her as a concubine but she hated his notorious style of ruling and his father’s treatment to teh Kuang family, she pretended to have gone made in order to escape the Emperor.

Water DripW60xD30xH60mm, China

This little gadget is a part of the traditional Chinese stationary.  A vessel to contain water for diluting the ink on the inkstone, known as a water drip.  The water is drip out from the spout, the velocity of the flow is control by easing the finger placed over the small hole.  These water drips though functional is also a item of delight for the scholars, one would have several of these, if I would have to draw a parallel in today’s world … iphone cases I suppose?


DIA150xH70mm, China

This is a hat for the new born baby, a blessing from the mother.

Three different fruits are embroidered on the top of the hat (click on the links for more stories about the symbolism);
Peach – symbolizes longevity,
Promegranate – symbolizes fertility,
Buddha’s Finger – symbolizes happiness.

Embroidered n the back flap are the symbols of;
the word “壽” – longevity,
– “Swastika” – luck,
Double Bat – double blessing.

All the good thoughts from the mother to the child.

chopstick holderW100xD60xH190, China

This is a item which used to be in every household, a pottery chopstick drainer, a bit like the cutlery drainer which is now replaced by the plastic draining tray.  I must admit I am part of the plaster tray generation and have never seen the chopstick drainer in action.

On the drainer is written 百子千孫, hundred of sons and thousands of grandsons, a blessing of fertility.  At a time when mortality rate is high, a large family to continuation the bloodline is the most important aim in life, though it does such a priority in life as much (particularly with China’s one child policy) its still seen as a welcome blessing for the family.

cardW110xH150mm, Hong Kong

A series of paper cutout greeting cards of cats by Mountain Folkcraft.

Here a blue cat in a sitting pose, ever wonder how many ways they can sit?

Have a good weekend and spend some time with the cat!

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