Archives for posts with tag: dowry

bamboo lacquer basket OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DIA260xH320mm, China

A lacquered bamboo weaved basket which forms part of the dowry of the young bride and an essential household object.  These form of baskets are used for storing food before the arrival of the refrigerator.  Precious food item like fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, would be placed inside the basket and hung under the beam of the kitchen.  The basket provide good airing and being suspended will stopped vermin from reaching the food.



DIA230xH230mm, China

This is one of the container for dowry for the Chinese in the old days, a container to be filled with melon seeds.  Melon seeds is a popular snack for the Chinese especially for festive celebration like the Chinese New Year, apart from its nutrient and availability, more importantly its symbol for fertility.

Traditional melon seeds are kept in their shell and nibble open, unfortunately I cannot find a human demonstration, here is one by the squirrel.

See our other dowry containers; Wooden Pail, lacquer Box, Water Bucket, Double Happiness Jar, Embroidery Pouch.

The term brocade to the Chinese denotes mostly brocades woven by the minorities in Guang Xi province, the Miao tribe, Dong tribe (Gaeml) and Yao tribe in particular.  The characteristic of these brocades are their vibrant colour combination and interesting geometric designs.  To achieve these means that they have to have several shuttles for different colour yarns and a special designed jacquard hand loom.

During the Ming dynasty, these minority brocades were articles of royal appointment tribute.  In the past, young girls by the age of 10 would have to start weaving a brocade of her own design and this would become her dowry for her wedding later on.  Motifs of brocade mostly are cloud, water, fish, bird and floral.  Brocades are used as quilt cover, wall hanging, cushion, head dress and belt etc.

Brocade Samples are shown at the Mountain Folkcraft shop in the Something New Something Old exhibition with Soil.

W370xD250xH470mm, China

A wooden pail is an everyday item in a traditional Chinese household, it is included in every bride’s dowry (see the previous post – Lacquer Pail) and indeed there are many types.  The one feature today is a plain version for storing food stuff such as sweet cakes, flours, grain or dried fruits.  The container is constructed by several pieces of wood (like a barrel), its oval shape made the construction much harder.

DIA340xH100mm, China

This red lacquer box is part would have been part of the dowry item in a traditional Chinese wedding.  In old China when the country is agricultural based, male is regarded as asset to the family with their labour and sadly , especially for the poor, female took on a minimal role in society.  It is said that a wealthy family their daughter is married off, a commoner’s daughter would be given away at the marriage and a poor man would have his daughter sold.  Wary of how the daughter’s life would be when she enters the groom’s family, the bride’s family would try their best to come up with an elaborate list of dowry so to ensure the status of their daughter in the new home and that she would not be seen as “sold”.  It so extensive that the production of the dowry would be categorized into wood work, carving work, lacquer work, box and bucket work and costume making.  In the morning of the wedding day, a team would set out from the groom to the brides house, after noon time, the team would return with the bride and the dowry procession.  For the riches, the dowry would be a full procession which goes on for miles.

This lacquer box is for storing confectionery.

Textile width 380mm, China

Hand woven fabric is a tradition art for the minority tribes in China.  Traditionally, the hand woven textile would be used for the small duvet for the child, the dowry of the bride, the keep sake head wrap, the decoration of ceremony – a significant piece of textile.  Not only are they functional they are also a show of love and care, however, at the highly industrialized China its concept of tradition and its function are both at risk of being replaced by something more trendy and more convenient to obtain, losing to either one would seize the continuation of this craft.

Textile width 380mm, China

This checker fabric is from the Bu Yi tribe in China, they are famous for their hand woven checker pattern fabric and their wax dyed fabric, they are one of the remain tribes whom the tradition of cloth weaving remains a strong tradition.  The checker pattern cloth is used for head wrap, bed sheet and clothing; though they are all checkers, the use are very specific.  Each pattern has its own story, this particular cloth is for making clothes.  Instead of going online or glue to the telly, girls of the Bu Yi tribe would weaving as their past time during the evening; the motivation comes from the preparation of the dowry which has to include the minimum of bed sheets, duvet cover, 10 costumes.

DIA260xH480mm, China

This lacquered water bucket is part of the bridal dowry of a Chinese wedding.  The basic dowry list for bucket section would include a foot a water bucket, a foot washing basin and a chamber pot.  The list for a well off family would go up to more than 20 items.  All these items have in common is that they are all lacquered in red and structurally formed like a barrel, segments of circular planks tightened together by a piece of metal.  The bucket artisan used to be a very popular trade, making every day use items, repairs and of course the dowry items, but as China became industrialized now there is only a handful of old artisan left.

DIA180xH250mm, China

In the old days, for a common Chinese family the ceramic items on the dowry list would include: one vase, a pair of blue and white double happiness jars, a pair of hat rest.  Inside of the jars would be placed dates and lotus seeds as a symbol of  adding a son for the family.

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