Archives for the month of: September, 2014


W45xH90mm, China

This puppet head is the General Deng Ai of the 3 Kingdom period (197-264 AD).  The story “Tan Shan Gu” has been made into opera and puppet theater.  At the time, China was divided into 3 kingdoms, General Deng was defending the Wei kingdom against the attack of the General Jiang Wei of the Shu kingdom.


Something for the weekend, a book I am currently reading and found that I can hardly put it down.  The book was published a few years back, I remember seeing it in the bookshop but the title didnt appeal to me.  “Gweilo” is a slang used by the locals to refer to foreigners, “ghost guy” would be a direct translation.  In the Qing dynasty when Chinese was closed off, any people who looks different from the orientals, large colour eyes,  tall nose, blonde hair would spark the thought that one is from a different world, hence “ghost”.  As we are approaching a more politically correct times, I was a little resentful of the word.

An autobiography of an English boy who came to Hong Kong with his parents in the 1950s.  His adventure and observations was beautifully and vividly written, the 50s was before I was born but a world that I could imagine and indulge in.  Hong Kong is fast changing city, the Hong Kong I am familiar with is almost a different city than the one he described.  I began searching for images of that era and came across this site where the Gweilo fans researched and came up with images of the places he described.  Though not as vivid as Martin’s description and from that of my imagination, they somehow filled in gaps and completed the jigsaw puzzle.


This figurine belonged to the Tanka tribe, a group who lived on junks by the bay and fish for a living.  In the Guangdong area, it said that their junks used to be tied together which stretches a mile long.  As time goes by, with development along the coastline, better living offer on land, most and almost all of the junks have disappeared.

This is an ancestor figurine of a middle ranking female, the crane symbolizes a departure from this world like the saints.


W110xH150mm, Hong Kong

A paper cutout white cat on a greeting card.

Paper cutout is a traditional Chinese craft, a simple way of decoration which was displayed on windows, lamp shade, anywhere with translucency of light .

… and here is a talented white cat.

P1040727bW300xH490mm, China

The worship of the heaven and earth is perhaps the most primitive of all faith.  Heaven and earth included all the natural and fundamental elements such as the sun, moon and the galaxy, mountain, valley, river, lake and the sea, wind, rain, thunder and lighting are all part of the believes.  The power of nature poses both blessing and treats to the human world.  All, these elements are humanized into a saint known as the God of Heaven and Earth.  Unlike the other saints, he is not housed in a temple as he symbolizes the universe as such; on Chinese New Year day, a wood block print of him will be posted up under the eaves for worship.  Other time you will come across the God of Heaven and Earth are in traditional Chinese weddings, the bride and the groom will begin their wedding ritual by worshiping this god of the universe.

Below the Jade Emperor in the middle of this wood block print is an image of a tablet where it is written, “天地三界 十方萬靈”, there are 3 dimensions, the heaven, the earth and the dead, saints are every where.


Waist 430mm, Hong Kong

A waist coat we have designed with a piece of brocade from the Miao tribe.  In traditional Miao costume, its normally found as a decoration for collars, sleeves, as well as for baby carriers.

For needle brocade, the technique used for this fabric please fwd to 9m20s.

Bamboo Lid

DIA390mm, China

A bamboo weaved lid that would have belonged to a bamboo stacking basket in the Jiang Su area.  The baskets would have come in pairs and carried with a shoulder pole with one at each end.  Almost like a triple decker hamper, the basket has 3 trays stacking over each other.  Used only in special occasions and festivals, its a container for seasonal gifts from the suitor to the girl’s family he is trying to proposed.  At the engagement, baskets of sesame cakes will be delivered to the bride to be which will be distributed to her relatives.  At the wedding day, varies gifts will be sent over to the brides family from the groom.  It does not end there with the wedding for these baskets; when a child is born, relatives will send with these baskets 6 different dishes to replenish the new mother, braised pork, stew fish, chicken, eggs, roast peanuts and a vegetable dish.

clay toyW15xL60xH50mm, China

These black colour clay toys are a specialty from the Huai Yang area.  The figurines take on many forms, from domestic animals to monster like creatures, as they began not as toys but saintly totems for worshiping.  The lion was not originated from China, its legends came together with the Buddhism from India.  The lion was not any ordinary wild animal but mystical creature with super power, it was worshiped for its power and its protection.  As time goes by, the idea of the lion totem began to lose sharp, the figurines portray friendly and even cute lions and instead of being an object of worship, they are more like a children’s toy.


golden wood carvingL210xD35xH100mm, China

The character in this golden wood carving is known as Lin Bu, a poet in the North Sung dynasty, he is surrounded by plum blossoms and there is a crane by his side.  Lin led a hermetic life on a small hill at the West Lake in Huangzhou, never setting foot in the city, he found company with the monks whom he would visit with his small boat.  Lin also admire plum blossoms which he planted around his hut, this also inspired him to write poems about them.  Lin also kept a couple of cranes for company.  It is said that if he got unexpected guests visiting while he is out on his boat, the cranes would flew to him, hoover above his boat and gave him his message.  Lin was never married, the plum blossom being his wife and the crane his sons, this phrase 梅妻鶴子 (Mei Qi He Zi) became a description for a hermetic life.

cardW110xH150mm, Hong Kong

The scene of the paper cutout card is taken from Beijing Opera – Wen Zhao Guan.

The story is set in the end of the Spring and Autumn Period (485BC), due to political slander Chu State offical Wu was under warrant while his father and brother was being executed.  Wu was hoping to escape to the neighbour Wu State but at the check point (Zhao Guan) he saw his arrest warrant on the wall.  Hermit Dong met him in the mountain and recognize that he was the wanted man but felt the unjust upon Wu and hid him in his home.  For 7 days, Dong entertainment him talking about all sorts but not a word about the escape, Wu lost patient as he had planned to rebuild his power and revenge for his family and hanging around is like torture.  Dong calm him down and said it was all planned out and that they were just waiting for a person.  That night Wu was restless, he had the urge to leave and to move on  but he was worry for his arrest at the gate.  After a night of anxious tournament all his hair has turned grey, his was even more trouble but Dong was happy that his planned has worked out.  Dong has a royalty friend Huang, who looked very much like Wu, Huang would pretend to be Wu and when the 3 of them cross the gate, the guard will only concentrate on Huang, now that Wu has a whole head of grey hair he was disregarded.


%d bloggers like this: