Archives for posts with tag: wooden

cookie mouldW120xL230xD20mm, China

This is a wooden mould for making the famous red peach guo.  Guo is Chaozhou dumpling that is made for festivals as well as for everyday snacks.  The peach shaped guo reserved for festive days like the Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid Autumn Festival, Winter Solstice, they are also made for the new born baby by the grandma on its hundred days’ celebration.

The peach shape symbolizes longevity, it is again emphasized by the word “壽” in the middle of the mould.

Here is the master mould carver working on a turtle shape guo mould.


window lattice

W460xH1030mm, China

   These wooden window lattices belonged to the houses of Hui Zhou, an area with elaborated civilian architecture brought on by the wealth of the successful merchants in the area.  The Hui style architecture is unique, a combination of the local stilt houses and official northern courtyard houses, suiting to the southern climate, resulted in 2 stories courtyard houses with the living area directly opened to the inner courtyard with no wall or door in between, hence the courtyard which open up to the sky becomes part of the living area.  This pair of window lattice would have been used for the ground floor bedroom facing the living area.  They would have belonged to a humble family, though the craftsmanship is not as elaborated as that of the Yin Yu Tang, it is entirely put together by notches and without the use of a single nail.

See the Yin Yu Tang, a house transported from Hui Zhou to the  Peabody Essex Museum.

wood carving

W70xD50xH140mm, China

This wood carving is depicting the event of the top scholar of the year, Zhuang Yuan, a parade showing off his achievement.  Early on the Chinese has established a strong examination system for the selection of her court officials.  The procession started inside the Jin Luan Dian, one of the three main courts of the forbidden city, this is here the Emperor will announce the top 3 scholars, their name will be sang out.  After thanking the Emperor, the Zhuang Yuan will depart the Jin Luan Dian, passing the Tai He Men, Wu Men, Duan Men, Cheng Tian Men, Ta Ming Men then head back to Chang An Zho Men to exit the forbidden city and continue his celebratory journey home.  Chang An Zho Men, now demolished, is the single entrance for “non-emperor”.  On the day of the results, after names of the Zhuang Yuan and others have been sang out in Jin Luan Dian, their names will be written on two yellow piece of paper, one to be kept as a record inside the court and the other larger piece to be posted inside a a temporary scaffolding hut outside Chang An Zho Men.  The examination system was a attempt to find the most capable regardless of the social background, it is similar the Chinese legend of the carps jumping up the sky in belief that they will become dragons.  For this the Chang An Zho Men (left door by Chang An Street) is also known as the Dragon Gate.

See the journey on map.

wood carving

Click here to see a embroidery version of this theme and below is a puppet version.

W100xD100xH250mm, Thailand

This is a old Thai monk figurine with folded palms,  namaskara mudra.  His palms are placed together at the level of the heart where in India is a traditional gesture of salutation and adoration, one of the oldest Indian mudras, a greeting expressed in the form of a prayer coming from one’s heart.

cookie mould

W100xL230xD40mm, China

On your birthday if someone made you a cake in the shape of a turtle, you will probably thought they taking a piss at you.   However, the “red turtle cake” is a special birthday sweet for the Chao Zhou, Fujian, Taiwan area, the sweets are made to be given to friends and family at the celebration of birthdays, for the new born or birthday of the land god.  The red colour is a symbol of happiness and the turtle a symbol of longevity.

If you cannot wait till birthday to try it out, they are also use a celebratory food for Chinese New Year.

Kui XingW250xD250xH500mm, China

This is a figurine of the Kui Xing, unlike the one posted earlier, this figurine has a more popular composition; its left leg is kicking backward in the air.  This composition is inspired by the word 魁 (the Chinese word for “Kui”).  Can you see the resemblance?

魁, on the left is the word 鬼 (ghost) and the left 斗 (dou – traditional Chinese unit for volume, where 1 dan = 10 dou).  The word 鬼 (ghost) reflect the appearance of Kui Xing, a talented scholar who was born with a face so slightly that he looked like a ghost .  The word  斗 (dou),  goes back to phrase 才高八斗 which is a praise for someone’s intellect, if the intellect in the world is measured to be 1 dan, someone who has 8 dou of the world intellect who be a genius.  Dou therefore became a measurement of intellect as well as for wine.

W370xD250xH470mm, China

A wooden pail is an everyday item in a traditional Chinese household, it is included in every bride’s dowry (see the previous post – Lacquer Pail) and indeed there are many types.  The one feature today is a plain version for storing food stuff such as sweet cakes, flours, grain or dried fruits.  The container is constructed by several pieces of wood (like a barrel), its oval shape made the construction much harder.

W130xD130xH150m, China

A small wooden box with brass handles and buckles, perfect for a treasure hunt.

I have been wondering what a box like this would be for.  The lock is rather redundant as the box is so small that the thief would have just grab it and go.  Perhaps its a box for a child to keep all the little precious items; a pebble from the beach, a ginkgo leave, an unknown seed, a dice, feather of some bird, a seashell …

W40xD50xH130mm, Macau

This is an old figurine worshiped by the fisherman on the junk boats of Hong Kong, it is one of the ancestral saints – Crane Riding Mother Saint, a figurine representing the female ancestors.  It is believe that ancestors would protect the fisherman at sea.  In Taoism, the Taoist saints be believe to travel around by riding a crane.

See our other entry of the Junk Boat Gods;
Tanka Wooden Effigy, Junk Boat God (god?), Junk Boat God

W80xL250xH400mm, Thailand

The most famous rooster in Thailand is perhaps the one which belonged to King Naresuan.  King Naresuan was the King of Ayutthaya between 1555 – 1605, he was most famous for freeing the Siam of Ayutthaya from Burmese rule and subsequently the expansion of his empire.  Now how does the roost come into the picture?  It is believed in popular legend that the young Prince Naresuan wagered a bet with the Burmese Prince of Ayutthaya that if Naresuan’s rooster would won the cock fight, Ayutthaya would be freed from Burmese rule and of course the rooster being as couragous as his master won fiercelessly.  Ceramic rooster statues can be seen as offering to King Naresuan in a few temples in Ayutthaya.

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