Archives for posts with tag: gold

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAW30xL50mm, China

 The art of filigree has been well established, especially in Beijing where the imperial jewellery and even hat gear employed the technique of filigree.

The start of the craft probably began as early as the Spring and Autumn period, when technology made it possible to produce fine gold and silver strings to be embedded into the bronze ware.  Different techniques were developed making it possible to create delicate jewellery twisting and turning precious gold and silver threads into beautiful motifs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfigurine

W120xD100xH480, Burma

This is a figurine of the Buddha with an alms bowl standing on a lotus flower.

In Theravada Buddhism, “pindacara” a daily alms collection of food “pindapata” is practiced by the monks (and nuns).  The word for monk “bhikkhu” means one who lives on alms, while “pindapata” means dropping a lump.  The monks would leave their monastery, in a group they walk barefooted in single file according to seniority, their robe formally arranged covering both shoulders.  The route will go through the village house by house, accepting but never requesting food that is dropped into the bowls.  This figurine, the Buddha, is leading figurine of a group which consists of monks of different heights which unfortunately is not with us.

Monks in Burma

the second film has a more in depth view of a monk’ life.

Thai Buddha

W100xD70xH220mm, Thailand

Mudras are symbolic hand gestures, without the use of words it communicates the mind’s idea which is more powerful than language.

This is a Buddha statue in the Bhumisparsha Mudra posture, with his right hand resting on knee while reaching toward the earth and the left hand lies on the lap facing upward.  This gesture is also known as the “earth witness” which is the most iconic image of Buddhism.  This gesture symbolizes unshakability and steadfastness; the legend goes just before Siddhartha Gautama was enlightened to become the Buddha, demon Mara called upon his armies of monster to attacking, hoping to scare him away from his meditation under the bodhi tree.  Siddhartha stayed unshaken and  continued his mediation.  The demon claimed the enlightenment for himself and called for his monsters to give witness to his superior spiritual achievements, Mara then asked Siddhartha if anyone could give witness for him.  Siddhartha simply extended his hand to reach the ground and the earth responded and giving witness for him.  Mara was defeated at his own challenge and vanished.  The next day Siddhartha Gautama enlightened to become the Buddha himself.   The serene expression of this figurine best captured this moment of enlightenment.

Here is a monk practicing more mudra gestures.

buddha's birthday

W130xD70xH400mm, Thailand

Tomorrow is the 2557th birthday of the Buddha, Vesakh, a holy day that commensurate the birth, enlightenment and death of  Gautama Buddha by Buddhist all over the world.  The date of the celebration differ slightly throughout the different countries, 8th of lunar April, in Thailand for example, Vesakh is on the 24th May. 

On this special day, the devoted Buddhist will observe the 8 Precepts:

  1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  2. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual activity.
  4. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
  5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
  6. I undertake the precept to refrain from eating at the forbidden time (i.e., after noon).
  7. I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.
  8. I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.

If you happen to be in Hong Kong, join in the celebration.

ASIAN FOLKCRAFT COLLECTION
SOIL X MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT

W100xD100xH250mm, Thailand

This is a old Thai monk figurine with folded palms,  namaskara mudra.  His palms are placed together at the level of the heart where in India is a traditional gesture of salutation and adoration, one of the oldest Indian mudras, a greeting expressed in the form of a prayer coming from one’s heart.

W300xH300mm, China

This is the head piece for Chinese opera, a crown used by the female warrior character, resembling the fighter’s helmet.  It has one layer of pompons and thus known as word one crown (the chinese word for one is 一, a simple horizontal line)

Due to the age of this piece, some of its tassels and a few of the pompons have gone missing.  The blue ornaments on the head piece are made from kingfisher feathers, tian tsui, a precious material.  The kingfisher bird has an amazing blue colour, however the intense colour is not from the pigment of the feather but from the reflection of the light.  Each piece of feather is painstakingly cut and inlay onto a metal gilt.   A relatively thin sheet of precious metal (gold or silver) is formed, gold or silver wires are bent according to the design and placed on the edge of this area, then small pieces of the feather is glued into the recess area.

W150xH150mm, Thailand

This is a gold hairpin to be worn by the bride in a Thai wedding.  During Thong Mun, the engagement ceremony (which sometimes is on the same day as the wedding), the groom will present gold sindod (dowry) to the bride.  The ceremony will be attended also by friends and relatives.

W100xH100xD25mm, China

This is a piece of wood carving covered with gold leaf, traditionally used in interior ornaments such as decoration for bed post or family alter table.  Though it can be found throughout China, it is mainly in the Southern Region where carving are more refined.  The golden wood carving makes use of the depth of the material, creating layers and a sense of perspective as a show of craftsmanship.