Archives for posts with tag: tiger

paper mache tigerW60xL140xH90mm, Japan

ASIAN FOLKCRAFT COLLECTION

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 (http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~kokakuro/essay/110619shiroyanagi/toratoratora.htm to see the complete description)



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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.

W100xD70xH180mm, Macau

The courageous looking figurine, riding on a tiger on the right and stepping on a dragon on the left is in fact an ancestral saint of the fisherman of Hong Kong.  For the Chinese both the dragon and tiger are creature of power, being able to control them would give extraordinary strength.  These ancestral saint are kept and worshiped on the junk boat by the Tanka tribe for keeping safe their journey at sea.

See our other junk boat gods; Tanka Wooden EffigyJunk Boat God (god?), Junk Boat God, Crane Riding Mother Saint

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

W75xH200mm, China

This small piece of silk embroidery (which we have framed) was taken from a children’s underwear (Du Dou).  The Du Dou is an undergarment for cover the chest and tummy, its a rectangular or square piece of cloth to be worn diagonally with the top corner trimmed for the neck.  2 strings affixed to the top corner is tied around the neck while the 2 strings attached to the side corners are tied around the back.  The embroidery patterns for children are of the theme of blessing; tiger is one of them.  Tiger is seen as an animal of strength and power, it has been worship for its protection; it is believed that evils will be frighten away when embroidery that has been wrapped around a child.  The tiger Du Dou is traditionally worn by all the children and babies on Duan Wu (the day of ills).

W150xD100xH300mm, China

There are numerous gods of wealth in China, mainly there are 3 more popular ones, the Main God of Wealth (Zhao Gong Ming, also known as the Moon God of Wealth), the Intellectual God of Wealth (Fan Li) and the Martial God of Wealth (Guan Yu).  This is a figurine of the Main God of Wealth.

And you might ask why is he has a pet tiger, well actually that is his transportation which he picked up on the way to the war of  Emporer Shang Zhou Wang.
(see the same figure in wood for his legend: God of Wealth)

W80xD120xH150mm, China

These are roof ridge tiles called the cat shingles, in the Yun Nan area each house would have one placed on the center of the roof ridge with its back toward the courtyard and facing the outside.  Although they are called cats, they are actually resemble tiger (you can see this by the 王 sign on their forehead, this is a symbol for all the Chinese tiger figurines).  It is believed these tiger figurines are capable of  protecting the household by eating up all the demons and bad feng shiu.  On the day when the cat tile is set on the roof, a special ceremony will take place (on a even number day in lunar feb or aug) which involve feeding the tile cat dates and nuts, a sprinkle of  chicken blood, chants, incense, burning of paper, followed by member of the family petting the cat and finally the awakened cat will be placed on the ridge.  On the 1st and 15th of every lunar month, incense will be offered to the cat.

DIA50mm, China

Yes yes I know tigers dont squeak, they roar … This toy is in keeping with the Chinese fascination of tiger as a protector guardian of children and child’s tiger squeak…  This tiger is made out of 2 pieces of clay, a bit like an oreo cookie, however it is a thin leather or toughen paper that is sandwich in between.  A squeak is fixed in the bottom layer, by moving the 2 parts a squeak will be sound.  It is known as the leather tiger.  It happens in China all the air blower tools, from bellow to a camera len blower are all called the leather tiger, can this only be a coincident?  or would it be some tribute to this toy.  Sadly, this toy is not longer popular for today’s children and are quite hard to find.

L80xH80xW60mm, China

Cloth tiger is a common toy for children in China.  Though we have all kinds of monstrous toys on the market nowadays, it would seems strange for a folk toy to be based on a vicious animal like the tiger.  In the days when life in less protected against nature and disease, the Chinese look on the tiger as a symbol of strength, bravery and good health.  The cloth tiger becomes a symbol of protection and a blessing for the young.  On the 5th of the lunar month of may, the day when ritual would be performed for plague prevention, faces of the children will be painted yellow with tiger pattern for extra protection.  Cloth tiger would be given to a child 3 days after its birth, on its 100 days birthday, 1st and 2nd birthdays and on Chinese New Year as a blessing to the child.