Archives for posts with tag: monkey


W150xD50xH110, China

A roly-poly monkey toy.

The story goes like this; in the Sung dyansty, there was an additional of a baby boy to a wealthy household.  Precious and spoiled, he cried every night till dawn.  Worried that something was wrong, the family consulted all the well known doctors in town but cries continued.  One day, the father came home with a clay toy shaped with a rounded bottom and a small top.  The child pushes, it wobbles and bounces back, it amuses the child and the crying stopped.  The father believed that it was a blessing from god and had the figure of Guan Yin painted onto it, hoping it will protect his family from toppling.  Unfortunately, one day the child broke the clay toy in half, a bad omen the father thought but the clay cannot be put together again.  Cleverly, he used the broken toy as a mold and created a paper mache version and it became a popular folk toy in China.


W40xD40xH80, China

Every time I see this snuff bottle I feel as if this ought to be a bottle for some cold remedy.  The red cap on the monkey’s head reminded me an emergency siren or more the flashing light of the ultraman.

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

W200xH200mm, Korea

This is a mask used in the Talchum mask dance in Korea; the dances were in the past an outlet for letting out the frustration felt by the commoners towards the Yangban ruling class who were following the Confucian doctrine.  The stories of the dance often mock the ruling class by ridiculing monks, the upper class and shamens.  The dance would be performed at festivals, these dynamic dances are received by an equally energetic audience who would join in the dance at the finale.  This is a monkey (Wonsungi) mask made of paper and fur; in the dance the monkey usually plays the role of mimicking humans.

 (S) H100xW50mm, China

This is not what the name suggests, it is perfectly legal… Strands of hemp fiber are tied to a metal wire like a bottle brush.  With these wire, the monkey can becomes quite animated.  The monkey comes in three different sizes with the large one going up to 300mm tall.

W200xH250mm, Indonesia

This is Java Topeng in the form of a monkey.  Actors would wear these masks to perform a traditional dance.  These performance usually take place at night and will last for several hours.

%d bloggers like this: