Archives for posts with tag: golden wood carving

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L250xH130xD60mm, China

A golden lacquered wood carving of the blessed symbols.

Flower – Wealth
Pomegranate (right) – Fertility
Books (behind flower) – Intellect
Painting (behind books) – Scholarly
Gu Qin, musical instrument (right of flower) – Peacefulness

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W140xD30xH270mm, China

This is a wood carving based on a scene from the romantic comedy “The Story of the Western Wing”.  It has nothing to do with the White House but a play set in the Tang dynasty about a young couple pursuing with their love for each other without the consent of their parents.  In the old days, marriage are arranged by the parents with the husband and wife to be never meeting each other before the day of the wedding.  Love affairs outside of this arrangement are forbidden and are seen as dishonoring to the family name.

In the scene depicted, the chamber maid, Hong Niang, was caught assisting Cui Ying Ying, the daughter of the chief minister, in seeing the young scholar staying in the western wing of the house.  The lady of the house interrogated Hong Niang with her daughter Cui Ying Ying hidding behind the screen.  In the end the family consented an official marriage on the condition that the young scholar Zhang Sheng would come top in the national official examination (a very difficult task).  Zhang Sheng passed the exam with flying colours, became the zhuang yuan, married Cui Ying Ying and lived happily ever after.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAW40xL80xH110mm, China

This lion riding figue is Wei Chi Gong, a general of the Tang dynasty.  Stories of his loyalty and bravery made it to the hearts of the people that he became a protector for the home, prints and figurines were made of him and his partner Qin Qiong.

Legends has it that in the Tang dynasty, the Dragon King had a bet with a fortune teller, this act violated the rules of the heaven and Jade Emperor ordered for the dragon’s execution.  The Dragon King pledged with the Tang Emperor and the Emperor agreed to summon the executioner back to court so the dragon could be spare.  Unfortunately, the Emperor doses off and missed the hour, the dragon was cut in half and died.  The dragon was extremely upset that the promise was broken and its ghost haunted the imperial palace day and night.  Wei Chi Gong and Qin Qiong, the two brave generals offered to stand guard at the door of the palace, the dragon ghost was kept at bay.  The emperor felt guilty that the pair has to be on guard days and nights because of his own negligence and ordered prints and figurines to be made of the two so to spare them from their task.  The fame of the two generals is so powerful that their imagery would be enough to scare away the haunted dragon, since then they were used to guard doors, gateways, bed in the household.

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L430xD60xH110mm, China

This wood carving would have been the center piece of  a furniture.  A pair of phoenix amidst an intricate carving of clouds are flying towards the raising sun.

The phoenix is a pair of mythical birds that symbolizes peace.  These king of birds flying towards the sun represent an expectation of well being to come; a blessing of health, longevity and goodness.

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W170xD60xH130mm, China

“Child from the Saints” is a popular blessing subject in the Ming and Qing period, symbolizing blessing and fertility.  The legend dated back to the late Han dynasty, when the Wei Emperor to be was a poor farmer.  One spring, when he was working in the field, he saw a immaculate carriage landed from the sky, inside of the carriage was a beautiful lady.  He put away his tools and went to greet the visitor, the lady told him she is send by the Jade Emperor to be his wife, the two got married on the day, the lady saint said she has to go back to heaven and would meet him again a year later at the same place.  A year later, Wei arrived early to the field awaiting for his date, the magic carriage appeared, inside it was the lady saint together with a baby.  She handed him the baby and said he was his son and he will be the Emperor.

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.

golden wood carvingL350xD25xH130, China

This golden wood carving used to be center pediment of an ornamental object, perhaps on small shrine in a temple.

On the carving, there are 2 dragons chasing after a pearl.  Dragons are believed to be mythical creatures from the sky, they need to attain a certain quality to become a saint.  After a few hundred years, the essence of what they have learnt from nature would become a pearl like pellet.  The dragon would spit out the pearl for it absorb the spirit of nature and the bigger the pearl would grow.  One day while a dragon was practicing with his pearl, another dragon decided to take this pearl to speedup his own attainment. The bad dragon spit out his pearl hoping it would absorb the other, the two pearls melted and became one giant pearl, both dragons wanted to take it in and started using all their tricks.  Their fight upset the nature of the universe and the Jade Emperor took them in and set the pearl on the temple which would be protected by the dragons for good

golden wood carving

W150xD40xH180mm, China

The two character on this wood block carving is Fan Li Hua and Xue Ding Shan.  The story of the two are in opera, movies and on telly with Fan Li Hua being the famous female warrior of the Tang dynasty.  Fan was the daughter of the general of the country name Onog, both beautiful and with superb martial skills.   General Xue was in charged of expanding on the western territories; Fan was assigned to aid his father at the battle by  her mother who also told her that she was destined to marry Xue.  Without effort Fan defeated her enemy and requested for a battle with General Xue and quickly defeated Xue as well.  Her terms for ending the war was for him to marry her, three times she captured him and released him and .  General Xue was moved and the two was married, Fan then pretended to loss the battle and was captured by Xue.  Fan then help Xue to conquer the western frontier.

Here is another carving of Fan Li Hau.

golden wood carving

L230xD30xH90mm, China

This golden wood carving makes a perfect birthday present.

The four figurines are full of blessing, Fu Lu Shou and Ma Gu.  They are all Taoist saints, representing blessings and happiness.

Fu (far right) – the planet Jupiter which was also attributed to Yang Cheng of the West Han period.  Yang, after being nominated to be the Daozhou official, abolished the practice of present contribution to the Emperor, relieving the stain for the people and therefore seen as a blessing.

Lu (left of Fu) – god of prosperity.  The stars Ursa Majoris humanized as Zhang Xian of the Shu dynasty, a brave general who was respected by the Emperor and worshiped by the people.

Shou (left of Lu) – god of longevity.  The stars of Canopus, translated as Peng Zu who is believed to have livd to an age of 767!!

Lady (at the far left) is Ma Gu, goddess of longevity – with the appearance still being in her teens, she has witnessed 3 times the sea turned into fields (judging its not from any dramatic climatic changes, she has been around for a long long time).  Her immortality and her yearly birthday tribute to the Queen Mother of the West is seen as a blessing and so Ma Gu is a popular subject for pritns, figurines, embroidery and alike.