Archives for posts with tag: happiness

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

W370 X H650mm, China

The recent generations of the Chinese are familiar with the Gods – Fu Lu Shou, the trio that stood in the prime location of the living room almost like an alter piece.  Its only recently that I discovered that they are no a trio but a group of five!  Nowadays rarely seen together, the five are made up of Fu, Lu, Shou, Xi and Cai.

Fu – God of Blessing – dressed in red robe holding large “ru yi” scepter
Lu – God of Fortune – holding a decree from the Emperor
Shou – God of Longevity – old man holding cane and peach
Xi – God of Happiness – holding a kid
Cai – God of Wealth – holding golden ingot

In this print, the trio are Fu in the middle with Shou on the right and Xi on the left.

Come to see the actual print and many others at the
New Year Print Exhibition

MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT
CHINESE WOOD BLOCK PRINT COLLECTION

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File-8---DW-006-一團和氣W450xH680mm, China

On the top of the print is a hanging bat symbolizing the arrival of blessing.  The word upside down (倒) “dao” shares the same pronunciation as the word arrived (到) “dao”, while word bat (蝠) “fu” with the word blessing (福) “fu”.

Hanging on the mouth of the bat is a Buddha’s hand fruit, a symbol of happiness and a peach which symbolizes longevity.

This rounded figure is known as “yi tuan he qi” – Harmony, which is a blessing for oneself, the family, the country to the world at large.

The figure originally comes from the painting of the same title by the Ming emperor, Zhu Jian Shen, featuring the Maitreya in a lotus meditation pose.  On closer look, there are 2 scholars on either side smiling at each other with their knee touching.  The Maitreya embraces the 2 scholars with his head bend, revealing his bald head.  The 3, Buddhist, Taoist and Confucius are in harmony with each other.

一團和氣

Come to see the actual print and many others at the
New Year Print Exhibition

MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT
CHINESE WOOD BLOCK PRINT COLLECTION

hat

DIA150xH70mm, China

This is a hat for the new born baby, a blessing from the mother.

Three different fruits are embroidered on the top of the hat (click on the links for more stories about the symbolism);
Peach – symbolizes longevity,
Promegranate – symbolizes fertility,
Buddha’s Finger – symbolizes happiness.

Embroidered n the back flap are the symbols of;
the word “壽” – longevity,
– “Swastika” – luck,
Double Bat – double blessing.

All the good thoughts from the mother to the child.

golden wood carvingL300xD45xH65mm, China

The composition of plum blossom and bird is a popular theme for Chinese crafts.

Not only it this a yearly event when the birds come to party and feast when the plum blossom, it also has a symbolic meaning.  A play on the phase 喜上眉梢 (xi shang mei shao), one is so happy that joy is expressed when in the eye brow.  You might wonder what a facial express has to do with plum blossom and bird.  The bird is 喜鵲 pica pica (magpie), its climbing on the plum branch 喜上梅梢 (xi shang mei que) has the same pronunciation has this uncontrollable joy.

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.

pottery birdsW200xD150xH270mm, China

A delicate figurine of two pica pica (magpie) on a blossoming plum tree.  The subject, a symbol of blessing, is often seen in painting, pottery and carvings; for the Chinese, the pica pica is bird of luck while the plum tree signified happiness, joy, peace, longevity and success.   Here is a story about this lucky bird, in the Tong dynasty there was a man named Li Jing Yi.  Outside Li’s house there was a pica pica nest on a tree, everyday he would feed the bird, after a while the bounding between the bird and Li grew.  One day, out of the blue Li was arrested for a crime he did not commit, when he was most helpless in jail the pica pica came visited him and sang at the window for a long time.  His was relieved by the bird’s visit and 3 days later, the good news about his release came.  It is believed the bird can transformed as a imperial guard with the notice for his release.  Since then, the pica pica is associated with the bearer of good news.

New Year Paper Cutout Decoration

W240xL380mm, China

This door hanger paper cutout is called Diao Qian Er, a blessing for household for the new year.  They would be place on the lintel on “Spring Arrival” day ( last Monday, the 4th of  Feb) and be taken down on, 24th Feb, the night of Yuan Xiao.  It is believed that if if is not taken down on Yuan Xiao, the sleepy worm would stay with the household for the year.  In rural China,  the farmers who have no Sunday or Public Holiday, Chinese New Year is the only time they would allow themselves to take a break from work and rest.  Taking off the Dio Qian Er would signify the end of the New Year celebration.

On this paper cutout; there is the word “合家歡樂”, happiness for the whole family, on a backdrop of  卍 Man Ji Wan which is a symbol for essence of goodness.  Below are symbols of coins, symbolizing wealth.

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.

DIA250mm, China

The composition of this plate of the bird and the plum blossom which gave the plate its name – plum & bird plate.  The theme of bird and plum tree can be found on painting, pottery, jewellery, stationary, etc.  The pair sometimes are fighting for the attention of spring and sometimes delivering good news, they are often seen together.  Plum tree blossoms in the spring time, a start of a new year, both a sense of joy and happiness.  The bird, pica pica, is a special bird, according to the Chinese “Book of Birds” (around 500B.C.), the pica pica is capable of telling the weather – “If it sings with its head upwards it will be sunny, if it cries with its head facing down it will rain, people will be happy just listening to it sing”.  Looking at the plate, it seems weather will be good tomorrow, have a nice day everyone!

Though it is not a pica pica (magpie) and it didnt sing, nevertheless its a nice clip.