Archives for posts with tag: paper mache


W200xD330xH260mm, Hong Kong (NOT FOR SALE)

For Spikey‘s birthday, we have a paper mache Spike!


You can see more of spike in his own blog



L330xW200xH400mm, Hong Kong

We have now associate the term white elephant to large and redundant project that is exhausting to maintain, e.g. the Olympic bird nest stadium or even Downton Abbey.

The white elephant first gained its sacred reputation from the appearance in the dream of Queen Maya (mother of Buddha).  In the dream, Queen Maya was carried by our spirits to a lake in the Himalayas where she was bathed and pampered.  Then came a white elephant holding a white lotus flower and circled around her 3 times.  It is believed that the buddha took the form of a white elephant to be reborn on earth.

This sacred animal became a symbol of justice and power for the kings of the Southeast Asia and that it offers peace and prosperity.  Temples, palaces were build for his home; musicians, cooks for its entertainments, etc.  The white elephant is a rare, in today’s terms, it is albino (a genetic disorder which lacks pigments in the skin).  In the old days, as they are rare, the king would use them as the highest reward.  This would be a blessing if one has the means to sustain the up keeping of the sacred elephant but otherwise a curse and this is where the meaning of the modern idiom comes from.


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.

paper mache tigerW60xL140xH90mm, Japan


Though tiger is not native to Japan, its worship has started before the first tiger was imported from Korea some 400 years ago.  The figure was generated from painting, tales and imagination, it is believe that the tiger is a symbol of strength and health.  This is a paper mache tiger with a noddy head.

Here is a collection of the paper mache tiger wood block print by Shirayanagi Eiichi ( to see the complete description)

burmese owl

W45D30H60mm, Mynmar

The Zee Kwet (or) the Myanmar Owls are believed to bring luck and prosperity to a family.  The owls usually comes in pairs, a male owl and a female owl.  But there is something more. At the base of the female owl, a tiny owl is also painted on it, to make it looks like a family.


paper mache cow

W90xL200xH230mm, Myanmar

Burmese paper mache is usually made by applying layers of thin, tough, paper and rice paste to a clay model of an elephant.  After drying for a day or two, the object is then given a coat of white paint. The body is painted with brightly coloured enamel paints.

These paper maches are not only toys.  A donor may commission objects in different shapes for presentation to a pagoda or monastery on special occasions.    They are usually made by craftsmen or their families in the vicinity of the pagodas.

This animal paper mache collection from SOIL is avaible at Mountain Folkcraft during the ASIAN FOLKCRAFT event.

W120xD100xH200mm, China

In the old days when free love was forbidden in China, all marriage proposals has to go through a matchmaker.  Even when the couples are already in love with each other, one would still have to go through a matchmaker in order to make the marriage a proper one.  The job of the matchmaker seems to be only opened to woman, apart from the proposing, they are also responsible for presenting the information of both families.  In order to make the deal, the positive points are often emphasised and the weakness carefully put.  Acting as the communicator for both families, she is also the   co-ordinator, MC, organiser for the wedding.

The head of the figurine nods and the body wobbles resembling the matchmaker lady saying all the goodness about the marriage.  The fan, of course, is the essential tool for the matchmaker, making sure everyone would stay cool during the big day.


We need your help!  This is a paper mache pig that was acquired a long long time ago, the origin of this item is unclear.  Perhaps someone can enlighten us?  Korean?  Thai?  Chinese?  Vietnamese?

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