Archives for posts with tag: chao zhou

Small CupsDIA40xH20mm, China

After a feast of  Chao Zhou food, trays of Kang Hu Te would be served in tiny cups.  They are equivalent of espresso for  coffee, a strong and flavorful tea best take in small dosage.  They are so tasty and perfect for the digestion that one would often have one too many and end up counting sheep.

Talking about Chao Zhou food, particularly missed the local joint on the building as our shop.  Unpretentious, a 4 meter square kitchen, one chef and one waiter, serving the amazing food for 40 guests cramped into the small rooms.  Sadly, the chef has retired and the drawnwork yarn shop at the same premise was no longer there.  Thinking about it is making my mouth water.

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W360xD190XH360mm, China

This fine lacquered cabinet was a household shrine for worshiping the ancestors in the Chaozhou area.  Ancestral tablets would be kept inside of the cabinets, with the higher ranking ancestor on the upper stage and the others on the lower level.  The decoration of the exterior of the doors are blessing figures of warriors and top scholars (zhuang yuan) while in the interior are scholarly plants, all a blessing for the descendants of the family.

The ancestral tablets are made of word with the name of the ancestor.  The legend goes like this; a long time ago there lived a poor widow and her son.  The son was a brute, abusive to the mother verbally and sometimes even physically, but the mother took care of him all the same.  One day, while the son was collecting logs in the mountain he saw a mother bird busy looking for food to feed her young, so tired is the bird that she collapsed in the nest after feeding the nestling.  Seeing this the young man realized he had been wrong of how he had treated his mother and felt terrible.  Right about the same time, his mother arrived with his lunch, the young man hurried to greet his mother.  Not knowing his intention, the mother told she would get another beating, she put down the food and started to run down the hill.  The son yelled behind her and the mother hurried, tripped, hit a tree and died.  Unable to tell his mother how sorry he had been, he took a piece of the tree, wrote on it his mother’s name and worship it on her birthday.  The character of the son changed and became a very successful man and the idea of ancestral tablets were adopted by others.

worship cabinet

W40xD40xH500mm, China

This engraving of the plant reminded me the pattern of the arts and crafts movement.  Most probably also for the love of nature, the wall climber pattern was one of the first pattern to be used for the Chao Zhou golden wooden carving.  Apart from wood carving it is also a popular pattern for pottery and more abstractly on costume.

W120xH650mm, China

Gold and lacquered wood carving is a craft specialized in the Chao Zhou area; lacquer are applied on the wood carving before gold leaf is gilded on.  The carving are used to decorate items from furniture to architecture.  One of the theme for the wood carving are popular legends and scenes from opera.  This particular wood carving tells the story of Hua Mu Lan (made even more popular by Disney in the movie Mulan).  In the Northern dynasty, there were a lot nomad attacks in the north, one male from each family are required to be drafted to war.  The girl Mulan’s family has an elderly father and a very young brother, Mulan decided to take upon the duty, disguised herself as a male and went to join the army.  After a 12 years battle, the war was won and Mulan triumphantly returned, only then did her army mates realized she was in fact a female.