Archives for posts with tag: horse

horse

W100xL300xH300mm, Hong Kong

Inspired by the Han dynasty wooden horse, this white horse is constructed entirely with paper.

Horses were highly priced in the Han dynasty (200 B.C. – 220 A.D.). The use of war chariots started in the Warring State period (450 B.C.) and gradually replaced by cavalry in the Han dynasty. This change was brought about by the discovered of the heavenly horses, a superior breed that is found in the Feghana Basin (today’s Afghanistan). Failing to obtain these horse peacefully, lengthy wars took place; Chang An, the capital of Han, is far far away from Feghana Basin (some 2000km away, that is if we take the plane, and much more by foot). The long journey was exhausting and food soon ran out, by time the Han army reaches the Feghana Basin, the starving troops were defeated even by the smaller war lords. General Li Guang Li, led the remaining of his men back to Chang An. The emperor gave the general a larger army and a large supply of food and sent off again. This time they reach the Dayuan capital, Khujand, with no difficulties. The Han army was no match with the enemy, half the men was killed in the first battle. General Li changed his plan and instead of fighting with the Dayuan, he succeeded in cutting off the water supply to the city. Within the city the nobles revolted against the ruler and offered a tribute of 3000 heavenly horses.

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cotton horse

L180xW80xH180mm, China

Welcome to the Year of the Horse!

The Chinese Zodiac works in a 12 years cycle, each represented by a different animal.  These 12 animals goes in the order

Rat -> Ox -> Tiger ->
Rabbit ->Dragon -> Snake ->
Horse -> Goat -> Monkey ->
Rooster -> Dog -> Pig

and then back to the Rat again.

On Chinese New Year (31st Jan 2014) begins the Year of the Horse.
It is quite easy to work out one’s zodiac animal, snake is 2013, goat is 2015 and back to the horse again in 2026.  So it is also easy for someone to work out your age too, for the ladies who don’t want to tell everyone your age, when you are prompt with the question what is your Chinese zodiac sign, you can always say that you are a Cat…

According to the legend, the Jade Emperor has a Flying Horse that he adores.  The Flying Horse was full of himself, one day he went fooling around at the Dragon palace, he killed the Turtle Saint who came to stopped him.  When the news traveled back to the Jade Emperor and the Flying Horse was punished with his wings cut off and press under the Kun Lun mountain.  The poor Horse was all alone under the mountain until 200 years later when the human walked passed, the Horse swept and said, “please help me, kind human, in return I will work hard for you.”  Out of pity, the human cut down the peach tree that was on top of the mountain and the Horse was released.  A bond was developed between the two species, the Horse became a carriage for the human, paired up and went to war.  When the selection for the zodiac animals came up, the human voted for the Horse.

For the Year of the Horse, we have a horsey toy made of cotton felt.

pony

DIA165mm, China

This neckware is made up of two ponys old silver pendants.  These pendants have little bells attached attached at the bottom, similar to the previous Bell Necklace these were used as a child monitor.  The colourful band of the necklace has been put together by hand.

Something Old Something New
Collectable Jewellery

Clay Horse

H150xL150xW100, China

This sweet little clay horse is by the Hu Xin Min, an artisan who successfully injected new spirits into the traditional craft.

The  Feng Xiang province has a long and  famous for making clay figurines, they are dramatic and bold in patterns, a blessing present for the Chinese New Year, festivals.  The history of Feng Xiang goes back to the Tang dynasty, the first emperor  Zhu Yuan Zhang had the 6th division of his army based in the area.  During peaceful time, these soldiers from the south made clay figurines as a pass time.  Later on, the soldiers settled in the village and named it the 6th division village and the tradition of craft of clay toys started.

DIA100xH60mm, Hong Kong

This is a compass used by Tanka clan, a clan who lived on junk boats along the coast of Southern China and worked as fisherman.  As it is a day to day object, their compass is more simple then the traditional geomancers’ compass.  The compass for the Chinese is not only for telling the direction but related to space (direction extending to the universe) and time (past and future) as a whole

The Chinese Compass Points

Chinese navigators reduced the compass they inherited from the geomancers to its simplest form, using only 24 points, or even reducing them to 12 or 8.  The dial itself is divided into segments of 15 degrees each, represented by 24 Chinese characters.  These are the compass points, which scholars say were the basis for calculations by diviners and geomancers in ancient times.  These compass points were stabilized in their present system by at least the early 8th century.  These characters used on the compass dial are not the characters commonly used in China to represent directions.  Their origin or etymology is, for the most part, lost in the mists of antiquity.  But scholars have traced many of them back to over 4000 years ago when they appeared on “oracle bones” used to look into the future.  12 of the characters ;  子 zi, 丑 chou,  寅 yin,  卯 mou, 辰 chen, 巳  si, 午 wu, 未 wei,  申 shen, 酉 you,  戌 xu, 亥 hai, have been traditionally grouped together and referred to as the 12 branches.  8 of these character 甲 jia, 乙 yi, 丙  bing, 丁 ding, 庚 geng,  辛 xin, 壬 ren,  癸 gui,  are part of the traditional grouping knon as the 10 stems.  The remaining 4 乾 qian, 坤  kun , 艮 gen,  巽 xun derive from one of the earliest Chinese works on divination, the I Ching.  In very ancient times, the 12 branches were applied to the months of the tropical year and the 10 stems were used to name the ten day week.  Diviners used the stem/ branch combinations of the day, month and year of birth as basis for their calculations and conclusions.  The 12 brances are also associated with the Chinese zodiac; the rat, ox, tiger, hares, dragon, serpent, horse, gost, monkey, cock, dog and bear.  Each of htese creatures is supposed to exercise an astrological influence over a particular 2 hour period of the day, and one year out of every 12.

子 zi – North, rat, 23:00-01:00
癸 gui – N15°E
丑 chou – N15°E , ox, 01:00-03:00
艮 gen – NE
寅 yin – N60°E, tiger, 03:00-05:00
甲 jia –  N75°E
卯 mou – East, hare, 05:00-07:00
乙 yi –  S75°E
辰 chen –  S60°E, dragon, 07:00-09:00
巽 xun – SE
巳  si – S30°E, snake, 09:00-11:00
丙  bing –   S15°E
午 wu – South, horse, 11:00-13:00
丁 ding – S15°W
未 wei – S30°W, sheep, 13:00-15:00
坤  kun – SW
申 shen – S60°W, monkey, 15:00-17:00
庚 geng – S75°W
酉 you – West, cock, 17:00-19:00
辛 xin – N75°W
戌 xu – N60°W, dog, 19:00-21:00
乾 qian – NW
亥 hai – N30°W, pig, 21:00-23:00

W60xL160xH100mm, China

Every child seem to have a horsy toy at some stage, whether they are big or small, rocking  or ride able.  This is the Chinese version made with clay and like most of the clay toy it is also a whistle making a horse like sound.  I like this particularly over the other clay toys as it looks half sleepy and totally silly.

W150xH170mm, Indonesia

This is Penthul, friend of  Tembem.  They are masks for the Jathilan folk dance, a Javanese hobby horse trance dance for exorcising evil spirits showing a battle between good and evil.   Jathilan dance is performed to celebrate harvest, weddings; originally it was a rite of passage to adulthood, the child whole mimic riding a horse and crossing over to become an adult.

Penthul and Tembem appears in the first act of the dance, they are the princes from the Kediri Kingdom who were faced by the forest spirits who attacked theirs soldier sending them into a trance.

L130xW50xH150mm, China

This is not a figurine on a merry go round but in fact a warrior at war.  The themes of golden lacquered wood carving are usually based on stories in Chinese operas.  This figurine is most probably from a decorative wall hangers depicting the fighting scene.