Archives for posts with tag: xiu qiu


DIA330xH70mm, China

A lacquer tray of a lion playing with a xiu qiu (a fabric ball), a symbol of blessing from this mythical powerful creature.

The tray is constructed by 8 sections and a flat octagonal size board in the center, held with a wire.  The base of the 8 sections have fine carving painted in gold.

Click here to see our other lacquer trays.




DIA150xH20mm, China

To celebrate the victory of  Germany winning the World Cup, here a plate with the lion playing with a xiu qiu.

The composition of the lion playing with the ball is a traditional blessing pattern.  The lion being nonnative in China was a mystical creature, not only is it the symbol of power and strength, it is also the carrier of the Manjusri Bodhisattva.    Lions sculptures are often found outside buildings as the guard against evils.  Here is the legend of how this supreme creature start getting addicted playing with balls; during the Southern and Northern dynasty, there is a general named Zong Que who was in a losing battle.  Zong thought of a way to breaking out of the surrounding enemy, he had the soldier build a figure of the lion, put on a mask and dressed in yellow fur, from a distance the enemy thought the lion has arrived and flee, enabling Zong’s army to escape from the situation.  The army celebrated  with the local villages and the tradition went on, to humanize the lion more movements were added as well as the xiu qiu ball.  The pattern of the lion and the xiu qiu is a blessing of strength and energy.

Click here to see our other items of the lion and the xiu qiu.


DIA200mm, Hong Kong

The pair of babies next to the jade plaque are known as Happy Encounter, a romantic blessing symbol. They are holding a lotus flower 蓮, has the same pronunciation (lian) as the word 年 yearly. In the old days, with a high motility rate and the idea of continuing the family tree, having as many children is wish by many. Below the figurines hang a xiu qiu which is a traditional romantic keepsake.


Something Old Something New
Collectible Jewellery Collection

iron lion

L170xW90xH170mm, China

Lions, perhaps not being a native animal in China, were considered as mythical creatures, protector and even made to be carriage of Bodhisattva Manjusri.

Chinese lions are often portrayed playing the xiu qiu, symbolizing harmony and joy.
However, does lion really enjoy playing balls like a cat …

L580xW140xH360mm, L620xW150xH340mm, China

A pair or lions; the lion playing with the xiu qiu is a male and the other with the cub is a lioness.

These pair of wood carving is part of an architectural element, in fact it is part of the bracket that hold up the beam in traditional Chinese architecture.  This highly decorative architectural / structural elements are found in the south, in larger building such as ancestral homes.

In the building the lions would have been view with their tails on the upper part and their heads at the bottom, as in the photo below.

beam carving


DIA250mm, China

This embroidery was taken from a du dou, a traditional Chinese under garment.  Du dou for men and children are mostly decorated with embroidery, normally by the mother or the lover.  This embroidery is one from the mother to the child, the pattern of the embroidery is filled with object of blessing.

In the middle is a TIGER, representing bravery.
Surrounding the tiger are 6 treasures (from 12 o’clock);

GOURD – charm against evils,
BOOKS – wisdom
FAN – inject life into the dead (one of the treasures of the 8 Immortals)
XIU QIU – love
SCISSOR – charm against evils
PAINTINGS – scholarly

W50xL120xH50mm, China

Its really a surprise to find this tin toy, it is intriguing in a couple of sense.  First, thought China has been a major manufacturer or tin toy since the 1920s, the design of the toy has broadly based on the original western themes (robots, cars, ships, objects which for the Chinese would have been deemed western).  This toy, a lion, has departed from the normal tin toy design.  For those who has seen a lion (photo, on telly, zoo or safari) would have said that this look at best a silly green monster and nothing like a lion at all.  This however has all the features a Chinese lion would have.

Now for the second surprise; there are no lions in China (not naturally there).  The idea of lion come together with Buddhism as an animal of power, the lion is as mythical as the kirin.  Since there are no lions, the Chinese do not see it as a predictor but as a protector against evil.  They can be seen guarding the front doors, on the ridge of a building, lion dances for New Year.  So fond of it that the male lion will normally been given a xiu qiu to play with.

DIA120mm, China

Yesterday we talked about a representation of  the Xiu Qiu on wood carving (see Golden Wood Carving-01/08/2012), here is the real thing.  The legend behind the Xiu Qiu is a love story; some 800 years ago in the old town of Jing Xi, Ah Di was in love the with girl Ah Xiu of the neighboring village.  One spring, when Ah Xiu was shopping in the market, a rich arrogant brat had his eyes on her and want her as his wife.  Ah Xiu turned down the proposal because of her love for Ah Di.  When the wealthy guy was furious and bribed the court to give Ah Di a death sentence.  Ah Xiu was blinded by her tears but she decided to make a xiu qiu for Ah Di as a keepsake.  Before the execution Ah Xiu visited Ah Di at the prison and gave him the xiu qiu as a gesture of her love for him, at that moment the siu qiu lighted up and transported both of them to a place far away from their villages.  And of course, they lived happily ever after …  Since then it became a popular keepsake.

For its resemblance, the Chinese has also named the Hydrangea as the Xiu Qiu flower.

L180xD70xH70mm, China

There are many themes for the gold plated lacquered wood carving (so many verbs, but there there are so many layers layers to the work); floral and symbolic carving is one of them.  The two symmetrical flowers are peony, representing wealth and glamour.  The center piece is xiu qiu (embroidery ball) which is a blessing symbol for love.  Many year ago when public dating are forbidden, the girl would select the groom by throwing the xiu qiu.  On the 15th of lunar January / August, the suitors would gather under the ladies’ quarter, the girl would throw the xiu qiu and whoever catches it will be the groom.  This carving is likely to be part of the decoration from the bridal sedan.  (see more about xiu qiu)

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