Archives for posts with tag: china

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAW20xD10xL50mm, China

 A pendant carving of the Buddha’s hand fruit (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis).  The shape of this finger like citrus fruit resemble the Buddha’s mundra and often used as an offering in the Buddhist temple, its also a symbol of happiness, longevity and fortune.

The natural sculptural shape of the Buddha’s hand fruit also made it a popular carving subject.

The fruit also gives a slight citrus aroma, when placed in a room its fragrance will refresh the entire space.

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stone vase

W80xD50xH155mm, China

This is a miniature Shou Shan stone  vase which has intricate carving of a chrysanthemum flower.  The Shou Shan stone is wonderful stone for carving, particularly for seals, its also a good material for other ornamental works.  This antique piece of work with its chipping has a sense of  rustic, of the untended nature.

DIA190mm, China

  This textured cream colour beads are not ivory or bones but musaragalva, made from the giant clams (tridacna gigas).  Clams that can grow to over a meter in width!  Though not a popular material, musaragalva is one of the seven treasures of Buddhism; musaragalva, agate, crystal, amber, pearl and musk.  These seven precious items differs in the ancient scripts but musargalva seems to be always part of the group.  In the Qing dynasty, they are used in the hat knob of the court officials costume, an identification of the ranking.  Musaragalva would have been used for the 6th ranking officials.

Something Old Something New
Collectible Jewellery Collection

small opium jar

DIA40xH35mm, China

This small pottery jar was a container for opium.

A cheap packaging of the opium den which would then be transferred to a more delicate bottle.

It is similar to today’s disposable plastic bag for pills.

small jar

weaving shuttles

L400xW70xH60mm, China

 These are a pair of wooden shuttles for the hand loom.

Anyone interested in weaving and other Chinese craftwork should watch out for the workshop organized by the Jin Ze Arts Centre,  a not-for-profit art and craft organization aimed at the preservation and promotion of the fine tradition of Chinese craftsmanship by fostering exchanges of ideas and techniques between practitioners of traditional crafts and contemporary designers via innovative approaches.

Here is a weaving workshop held last March, wish I was there!

https://www.facebook.com/JinZeArtsCentre

asian-folkcraft-small

ASIAN FOLKCRAFT

SOIL x MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT

Come to see a collection of folkcraft from all over asia; China,  India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar.

Tin ToyW110xL100xH60mm, China

The WWII Avenger Airplane?  What do you think?

knife

knife 2

L190 (close) 230 (open), China

On old farmer’s folding knife with the handle made out of deer horn.  A very well used and well loved piece.

Ci Zhou KilnW70xH200xD120mm, China

Today, for Something New Something Old pottery, we have something old.  A figurine of a boy holding a lotus made in the Ci Zhou kiln.  On further research, the boy’s name is Mo He Yue, the Chinese folk portrayal of the Buddha Siddhattha Gotama’s son – Rahula.  Rahula was born before Prince Siddhartha was enlightened to become the buddha, being raised by the his mother and grandfather King Suddhodana.  When Rahula was 7 year old, the Buddha returned to the palace, on the 7th day his mother Princess Yasodhara told Rahula to ask his father for the inheritance of the crown since the Buddha has already renounced his duty as the prince.  The Buddha knowing the crown goes with the worldly life is full of trouble, so instead gave his son spiritual enlightenment.  The Buddha asked his disciple Sariputta to ordain Rahula who later became one of the arhants.

Since the Tang dynasty, figurines of Mo He Yue have been used for the worship for the Qi Xi festival (7th of lunar July).  However, the Qi Xi festival has nothing to do with Buddhism but a celebration of love between a cowboy (Nin Lang) and a weaver girl (Zhi Nu).  

The love story goes something like this; a poor boy called Nin Lang who live with lived with his brother and the wife.  The sister in law was not keen on having a boy hanging around and had a cunning plan.  She asked Nin Lang to herd 9 of her cows but on his returned claimed that there were 10, if Nin Lang didnt manage to find the 10th cow he will not be allowed home again.  Nin Lang found a sick yellow cow on the hill, he nursed him carefully until the cow regained its health.  The cow was very grateful and revealed that he was actually a saint who has been strike down to earth.  The cow became a buddy of Nin Lang and told him  a place on earth where the female saints would hang out and there Ning Lang met Zhi Nu.  The 2 soon fell in love with each other and had a twin.  The Queen Mother of the West (the supreme head of all female saints) found out this forbidden sin, a earthy being having children with the saint, and escorted Zhi Nu back to heaven.  Seeing that Nin Lang became very sad at the departure of his wife, the cow told Nin Lang that after his death, his skin could be used to make a pair of shoes that could bring Nin Lang to heaven so he could find Zhi Nu again.  Years later, the shoes were made, Nin Lang flew to the sky and saw Zhi Nu at a distance.  The Queen Mother of West throw a hair ornament which became the milky way separating the two again.  Moved by their love, the pica pica birds formed a bridge to help them cross the milky way.  The Queen Mother of West touched, made an exception for them, once a year on the 7th of lunar July, the 2 are allow to meet on the pica pica bridge.  This story is of course a conception of the early Chinese astronomy; Nin Lang being Altair, Zhi Nu being Alpha Lyrae, the yellow cow – the Aldebaran and of course the Milky Way.

Since the Tang dynasty there has been the worship of the 2 lovers, in particular Zhi Nu, the weaver of colourful clouds in the sky.  It is believed that the girls would pick up her skillful hands. Now what has Rahula, the son of the Buddha got to do with the 2 lovers.  It has to do with other custom of Qi Xi, as it is a night of the union of the lovers, baby figurines were made as a symbol of conception of the much desired baby boy.  By Tang dynasty, with the arrival of Buddhism from India, these baby figurines were made into Rahula who is gifted and grown to be an arhant, an image of a son everyone wished for.  Rahula, being left behind by the Buddha at birth but eventually enlightened and preached by the Buddha.  This reunion fulfilled the void left behind the by separation of Nin Lang and Zhi Nu.

Slowly, the figurine changed from their role of being worship to being admired and by Sung dynasty when technique of molding was made popular, the Rahula (Mo He Yue) figurine became a toy.

happy encounter necklace

DIA195mm, China

Now for something old, this is an original long life locket necklace.

There are a lot of symbolism on this necklace.

First, Survival –  the Locket – Long Life Locket, a lock with would secure one’s life to this work.  This have been also featured in the following blogs; Original Long Life Locket, 13 Tai Bao Locket, Kirin Boy Necklace, Locket, Silver Necklace, A Fu, Du Dou.  On this particular locket, it has written the blessing of longevity and prosperity.

Then, Happiness is a spirit that all humanity long for, the Chinese too uses a lot of symbols for it.  The two children hanging on either side of the necklace is call “Happy Encounters”,  two of them meeting up, enjoying the company of each other.  They can also be found in another one of our Original Long Life Locket.

Third, Protector – the two rounded capsules which are in fact bells in the form of a tiger head, a symbol of protection for the child.  Tiger, an animal of power has always been worshiped, the Chinese would entrust their children to be under their protection.  Other toys and children’s clothing also shared the same effect; Tiger Headband, Tiger Du Dou, Tiger Shoes, Tiger Squeak, Cloth Tiger Toy.  The bell would add another layer of that protection of the power to chase the devil away, see Bell Necklace.