Archives for posts with tag: worship

clay toyW15xL60xH50mm, China

These black colour clay toys are a specialty from the Huai Yang area.  The figurines take on many forms, from domestic animals to monster like creatures, as they began not as toys but saintly totems for worshiping.  The lion was not originated from China, its legends came together with the Buddhism from India.  The lion was not any ordinary wild animal but mystical creature with super power, it was worshiped for its power and its protection.  As time goes by, the idea of the lion totem began to lose sharp, the figurines portray friendly and even cute lions and instead of being an object of worship, they are more like a children’s toy.

 

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kirin

W100xD50xH100mm, China

Chinese figurine of the lion are more often friendly and friendly rather then fierce, this might be because there are no lions originated from China.  The image of lion was brought to China by word of mouth from traders of the Western Region, as a tribute from Persia to the Emperor and as the symbolic “suan ni” from the Buddhist culture.  The worship of lion is thus mainly as a mystic protection of evil rather than the fierce forceful animal.

Black glaze pottery was first developed in China as early as the Jin dynasty (400 A.D.), it was a popular glazing in the Tong and Sung dynasty and further refined in the Qing dynasty.

Incense BurnerDIA100xH110mm, China

This old incense burner has a very contemporary design, even the exterior has a glossy finished to it.  It would have been used at home for the worship of gods or the ancestors.  The interior of the burner would be filled with ashes of the rice bran, these would be used to secure the incense stick.  As times goes by the container will be naturally filled with the ashes of the incense.

DIA130xH70mm, China

Like the tiger shoes, this is a tiger headband for the baby’s hundred day celebration.  They normally comes as a form of a hat, this headband is a relatively rare item.

In the old days when natural disaster and disease cannot be explained, they are often taken as an evil spell.  Helplessly people projected their hope onto a powerful animal and the tiger being the king of all animals (as there are not native lion in China) it has been an object of worship.

DIA270mm, China

This is a set of bronze plate which is believed to be used for food offering to the gods.  The Chinese uses ceramic for dinnerware, it is uncommon to use food using bronze or metal ware (well, now we have cast iron casserole, stainless steel bowls, enamel dishes, etc) .

W100xD50xH130mm, China

This is no Easter bunny but the famous Lord Rabbit.  It is a toy for the Mid Autumn (full moon) festival in the Beijing area.  The Lord Rabbit figurine first appeared in the late Ming dynasty, it was mainly used for worshipping by the younger generations.  It is believed that Chang E, the moon goddess, has a pet rabbit who is whiter than white jade as he was named as the Jade Rabbit.  The Jade Rabbit was specialised in preparing the medicine (you might have seen images of him stirring the medicinal pot on the moon).  Jade Rabbit worshipping has then been taken into moon worship and since rabbit has been kept as a household pet, out of respect for the Jade Rabbit god he was worshipped as the Lord Rabbit.  By Qing dynasty Lord Rabbit has turned into a toy for the Mid Autumn festival.  The folk story goes; once Beijing was infected by plague, almost all the household got sick, the moon goddess was sadden by the news and sent the Jade Rabbit to help cure the capital.  At each household he healed he would turned down any gifts but instead borrow a new set of clothing.  With the new clothing he would assume a different image for the next household, sometimes a female, sometimes a general etc.  He would also take on different animals for transportation; a deer, a tiger, a horse etc., hence there are many different versions of his figurines.

H170xW50xD70mm, Macau

I have been pondering about this figurine for a long time.  It is a Tanka god which would have been worshiped on the junk boat, keeping them safe on their fishing voyage.  But what kind of god would it be to be on a bicycle?!!  All my research led to dead ends.

A couple of days ago, I was in Tai O, an old fishing village in the remote part of Hong Kong.  I was attracted by the artworks surrounded a small convenience store, to my surprise they were created by the 84 years old owner, Mr. Lu, who was borned in Tai O of the Tanka clan.  He is like a walking history book and I took the opportunity to find out from him the nature of this figurine.  The figurine was indeed for worshiping, however it is not a proper god as such but someone in general who might harm you (giving you trouble, tummy ach, etc.)  So these people are made into figurines and offerings are made to them as if they are some kind of gods.  From the costume of the figurine, he is likely to be an official similar to today’s policeman.

Decoration outside Tokyo Store, Tai O.
They were created each year for the Chinese New Year with the corresponding animals from the zodiac signs, this was for the year of the rabbit.
If you are visiting Hong Kong, Tai O is a great place to go if the city and the malls becomes too overwhelming.