Luxuriant rosewood evokes imperial style

A legacy of old-time royal luxury, rosewood furniture is a living fossil of a privileged lifestyle.

 Chinese furniture

Rosewood carving, which turns fine material into exquisite artworks, is among the best gifts history has left China’s capital.

Most sandalwood is produced in tropical areas – little is grown in China. But the nation became the biggest repository of rosewood timber during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Zheng He’s historical expeditions in the early 15th century to Southeast and South Asia brought back large amount of the luxuriant wood to make furniture cherished by the emperors and nobles.

Rosewood was continuously shipped to China during that dynasty. Since a rosewood tree grows very slowly, only 15 percent of the timber is suitable for carving. The world’s sandalwood reserve was almost used up in the subsequent Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), ending a flourishing era of the art.

 Chinese furniture

Nevertheless, no matter how rare the material is, the craftsmanship is even more precious. Only the best artisans have been allowed to touch the fine timber because rosewood carving requires the most complicated technique among all woods and needs an extraordinary scrutiny of details, experts say.

People can still feel the classical flavor through these splendid pieces and enjoy this look at the past.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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Culture Insider: Chic items in ancient China

The ancient Chinese are not that “ancient” as modern people imagine. They used refrigerators, barbecue grills, carried handbags, wore high-heeled shoes and even used a diving suit. The cultural relics left by them tell us how they fully enjoyed their lives a long time ago. Let’s take a peek.

A maid from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) with a handbag is seen on a Dunhuang fresco. The murals in Dunhuang, Gansu province are gems of ancient Chinese art.
 Chinese Chic
A barbecue grill made with glazed pottery from the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220). The grill has pottery cicadas on it.
 Chinese Chic
This is regarded as the earliest refrigerator in China. The bronze fou (a crock with a narrow opening) from the Warring States Period (475-221BC) was excavated from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (Chinese: Zeng Hou Yi), an important archaeological site in Hubei province. Space between the fou’s layers can store ice.
 Chinese Chic
A watch-like finger ring was excavated from an archeological site in Shangsi county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. This burial artifact belonged to a royal man who lived during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
 Chinese Chic
A “diving suit” with equipment to supply the diver with oxygen while collecting pearls. Its introduction can be found in The Exploitation of the Works of Nature (Tiangong Kaiwu ), an encyclopedia covering a wide range of technical issues, published during the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644).
 Chinese Chic
A painting of women playing “Chinese golf”- Chuiwan, during the Ming Dynasty. Chuiwan, literally means “ball-hitting” and was a game in ancient China. The popularity of this game peaked in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Its rules resemble modern golf.
 Chinese Chic
This artwork shows women from the Sui Dynasty (581-618) wearing suspender skirts.
 Chinese Chic
A “mileage recorder” carriage used by noble people during the Han Dynasty (260 BC-AD220). Two wooden men stand on the carriage with drumsticks in their hands. When the carriage moved 500 meters, a wooden man would beat the drum. When the carriage moved 5,000 meters, another wooden man beat the drum as well.
 Chinese Chic
A painting of a woman wearing a hairnet during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
 Chinese Chic
A pair of high-heeled shoes from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
 Chinese Chic

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

China traces health condition of face-tattooed women

Chinese authorities are tracking the health records of the last group of women whose faces were tattooed in a southwestern tribal tradition as they seek to preserve the vanishing ethnic culture.

 Chinese Culture

Chinese authorities are tracking the health records of the last group of women whose faces were tattooed in a southwestern tribal tradition as they seek to preserve the vanishing ethnic culture.

The painful tradition of tattooing simple patterns across the nose, mouth and cheeks of women in the Dulong ethnic minority existed for hundreds of years, believed to have started in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

One of China’s 56 ethnic groups, the Dulong ethnic minority has a total population of around 7,000 living in the Dulongjiang Village in southwest Yunnan province.

The custom is believed to have started in the late Ming Dynasty about 360 years ago. The Dulong people were often attacked by other ethnic groups and women were taken as slaves. To avoid being raped, the Dulong women had their faces tattooed to make themselves less attractive.

But after the founding of New China, the tradition began to taper off and the number of Dulong women carrying remnants of the tradition in Yunnan province is dwindling.

In 2007, the number of woman with facial tattoos was 130. Now there remain just 26. The youngest of the 26 is 54, while the oldest is in her 90s.

“We have created records for the 26 women, while doctors check their health condition each month,” said Zhou Lixin, a police officer of the Dulongjiang Village in Nujiang Prefecture, Yunnan.

Doctors have been measuring vital signs such as weight and blood pressure, as well as other physical indices. They also bring medicine to the women and take them to hospital if necessary.

“They are the last face-tattooed women,” he said. “Their stories will become history, but we want them to live longer and healthier.”

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

6 popular icons on traditional Chinese architecture

Traditional Chinese architecture has a long history and glorious achievements. The buildings not only have practical functions, but also bear important artistic values. How do they combine the two? Let’s see from some details.

 Chinese Culture

Imperial red gates are frequently seen in palace and temple. The color is not pure red but between red and orange. It represents nobility and authority. The imperial red gate makes people feel solemn.

 Chinese Culture

Stone, wood or brick sculptures are also an important part of Hui-style architecture. Sculptures of people, mountains and flowers on bricks are an important art form, mainly seen on temples, graves and houses. No matter where they are, either on a door, window or roof, they are intact paintings.

 Chinese Culture

Flying eaves were often used on the roofs of ancient Chinese architecture. The cocking up eave looks like a bird unfolding its wings. The eaves are often sculpted with auspicious animals including a dragon, crane or fish.

 Chinese Culture

Hollowed-out patterns deliver different messages. For example, a pattern with a magpie means good luck, a bat hanging upside down means good fortune comes. The hollowed–out design not only beautifies the building, but also has the function of lighting, ventilation, dust proofing and space division.

 Chinese Culture

A slope roof is another icon of traditional Chinese architecture. The design not only makes the building look solemn and flowing, but also has many practical functions. The slope roof design can save energy because it helps make the house not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter. Also, rainwater drains right off.

 Chinese Culture

White walls with black tiles are often used in South China’s residences. The pristine and elegant design makes the residence look like an ink painting.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Chinese Jade

General Introduction

Jade has a history in China of at least four thousand years. Unknown to some, it is found contained within the development of religion and civilization, having moved from the use of decoration on to the others such as the rites of worship and burial. Although other materials like gold, silver and bronze were also used, none of these have ever exceeded the spiritual position that jade has acquired in people’s minds – it is associated with merit, morality, grace and dignity. In the funeral objects of the people of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD), for example, we can see only high officials were buried with jade articles.

 Chinese Jade

Jade has influenced all walks of life. In ancient times, people expressed abstract notions with concrete patterns of Chinese character, which were influenced by Taoism and Buddhism. Jade craftworks were among the most precious and luxurious ones; people wore and decorated rooms to indicate loyalty, elegance, beauty, and eternity. The most popular patterns were: peach (longevity), mandarin duck (love), deer (high official ranks), bat (blessing), fish (affluence), double phoenixes (thriving), bottle (safety), lotus (holiness), bamboo (lofty conduct), and fan (benevolence), etc.

Types of Jade

Jadeite

As early as the 16th century, it was believed to be a precious and hard jade with healing qualities for the human stomach and kidneys. Since it was brought into China during the early Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911), it had been doted on greatly. It contains an iron component which appears red, chromium that appears green, and many other colored types. Known as the ‘king of jade’, it is usually a more expensive type.

 Chinese Jade

Nephrite Jade

Nephrite’s robustness is due to the fact it contains tremolite. It also can be divided into several sub-classifications according to color: white, grey, green, topaz, and black jade.

 Chinese Jade

In China, the most reputable jade producing area is Hetian in Xinjiang Province. Hetian jade is so hard that it can scratch glass. It has often been found in very huge pieces.

 Chinese Jade

Serpentine jade, or Xiu yu in Chinese, is mainly from Xiuyan County in Liaoning Province. Made of many different ingredients, it takes on various appearances: white, yellow, light yellow, pink, green, dark green, light green and so on. This type is usually coloured in various shades of green. Usually serpentine jade is semi-transparent or even opaque like wax.

 Chinese Jade

Lantian jade is produced in Lantian County, north of Xian in Shaanxi Province. It was also among the most charming ancient jades, for its rigidity made it easier to be carved into decorations and jewelry by our ancestors. The hue is uneven in colors of yellow or light green.

 Chinese Jade

Nanyang County in Henan Province is famous for its abundant Nanyang jade. The ore district is located on an isolated 200 meter high hill, called Dushan Hill (thus its other name of ‘Dushan jade’). It is distinctive for its whimsicality. Among the Nanyang jade artworks, you will find rare purple, blue and red ones.

How to Appreciate and Maintain Jade

Experts believe that, although more expensive, diamonds and gold cannot be compared with jade – it is animated with a soul. They often buy to collect their favorite jade artworks, while people with little knowledge may buy coarse works.

To obtain a real jade article, you should take pains to learn and appreciate it. The criteria lie in the brightness of color and luster, compactness of inner structure, and the delicacy of the craftwork. For example, nephrite creates an oily luster and jadeite creates a vitreous luster. Tiny cracks can lower its value; on real one, air bubbles cannot be seen; the more lenitive the higher quality of jade, and so on.

Having purchased a jade article is just half the process of collecting. It is like a child that needs constant care. Enthusiasts need to work more to maintain this artwork, or blemishes may appear.

First, avoid bumping into hard surfaces as it is delicate. Although sometimes a crack cannot be seen by the naked eye, the interior structure may have been damaged. As time goes on, it will appear and reduce the value of the piece.

Second, protect it from dust or greasy dirt. If tainted, they must be scrubbed with a soft brush and light suds and washed with clean water.

Third, when left unused it is best to store it in a case or box to protect it from being bumped.

Fourth, it should be kept away from perfume, perspiration or chemicals. Its brightness risks corrosion, especially emerald and other high quality jade, so it is better to clean it with a soft cloth after wearing it.

Fifth, do not expose it to sunlight for a long time, or it may expand and the quality will change slightly.

Finally, jade has certain water content so keep it in an area of humidity to protect it from over-drying.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Centuries-old furniture withstands the test of time

Furniture made during China’s Ming dynasty from the 14th to 17th centuries achieved a pinnacle in the art of furniture making. It is also a favorite among antique collectors. Now, an exhibition at 798 Art Zone in Beijing is displaying some rare pieces of Ming dynasty furniture. The exhibition will run through October 7.

An exhibition at 798 art zone in Beijing is displaying some rare pieces of Ming dynasty furniture.
 Ming furniture

The exhibition is held by Jia Mu Tang, literally meaning “house of fine wood”, a company specializing in collecting Chinese antiques. Twenty eight geniune Ming dynasty furniture pieces collected by the company are on display, along with playthings owned by the late well-known antique collector Wang Shixiang. The furniture includes chairs, benches, tables, beds and wardrobes.

Wang Shixiang (1914-2009), hailed as the “father of classical Chinese furniture”, defined Ming furniture as pieces fashioned from valuable hardwood during the late Ming (1368-1644) and early Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

The exhibition places the furniture in seven modern rooms, including a sitting room, dining room and the memorial room of Wang Shixiang. Although created hundreds of years ago, these pieces provide a modern feel. And in the room dedicated to Wang Shixiang’s collections and essays, visitors can feel the profound knowledge of the late collector. Seven bronze furnaces manifest the epitome of his hobby.

Pieces of Ming furniture are exhibited at a space decorated as a sitting room.
 Ming furniture

“The antique and the modern complement each other,” says Qiao Hao, a Ming furniture expert and head of Guardian’s furniture and artwork department. “Every furnace has its own style, and can be called one of a kind in terms of collecting.”

“The study of Ming furniture is relatively new. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Wang published China’s first book on it.” Qiao said.

Wang’s books include Ming Dynasty Furniture Appreciation and Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties. They’re recognized as rediscoveries of antique furniture in China.

In modern times, Westerners began collecting and researching Ming furniture before the Chinese.

Foreign scholars and diplomats began collecting them in the 1930s. In 1944, German scholar Gustav Ecke published Chinese Domestic Furniture, the first book in any language on Ming furniture.

Although created hundreds of years ago, these pieces deliver a modern feel.
 Ming furniture

“It’s miraculous that artisans centuries ago could produce furniture that fits modern life,” Qiao says.

The furniture includes chairs, benches, tables, beds and wardrobes.
 Ming furniture

“It proves Ming furniture can withstand the test of time and transcend distinctions between Eastern and Western aesthetics.”

28 real Ming dynasty furniture pieces collected by the company are on display here.
 Ming furniture

Qiao explains the show aims to preserve and disseminate the furniture’s cultural components while honoring Wang’s efforts to do so.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Dongyang Wood Carving

Dongyang, a city in the middle of Zhejiang Province near Shanghai, is famous for its woodcarving. It is one of the major centers of woodcarving production from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties to the present day. Woodcarving in Dongyang has a long history and was named after its place of origin, Dongyang.

History

Dongyang woodcarving had already developed to a certain level by the Tang Dynasty(618-907), but was most prosperous in the last two feudal dynasties — the Ming(1368-1644)and the Qing(1644-1911).

The magnificent woodcarvings can be found in the imperial palaces in Beijing, Suzhou City, Hangzhou City and Anhui Province. During the reign of Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong(1711-1799), over 400 craftsmen came to the capital of Beijing to decorate the palaces and carve the lanterns. Those woodcarving articles are still kept in Gugong, the Imperial Palace in Beijing.

 Dongyang wood carving

After 1910, many carvers from Dongyong gathered in Shanghai and Hangzhou to produce export-oriented furniture and utensils combining Chinese and Western styles. Since the founding of the PRC, highly artistic frescoes and screens appeared on the market with the rapid development of technology. These works, focusing on historical stories and folk legends were designed using the ‘full carving’ technique, which formed a unique artistic style.

 Dongyang wood carving

In 1957, a 19-meter high wooden statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was sculpted for the main hall of Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou. In 1983, Dongyang City was named “the hometown of Chinese woodcarving” by the state council.

Features

The artistic forms of Dongyang woodcarving with distinct gradations and superb carving technology are unique in the handicraft and art fields.

 Dongyang wood carving

Dongyang woodcarving, also called “white woodcarving” (white is the natural color of the wood) is second to none in terms of Chinese crafts. In terms of techniques, Dongyang woodcarving features a high relief, multi-layers, and a rich composition of pictures, presenting a third dimension, full yet in neat order.

Dongyang woodcarving emphasizes relief skill; uses the traditional experience of a discreet, bird’s-eye perspective of the structure; stresses round composition; considers dispersion and multiplicity without looseness or disorder. Moreover, it has other features such as distinct gradations, obvious subjects and expressive plots which often help to tell a larger story.

 Dongyang wood carving

Dongyang woodcarving is mainly used to decorate houses and furniture with mainly realistic depictions of galloping horses, cranes, lotus flowers and human figures.

Nowadays, the assortment of Dongyang woodcarving products amount to more than 2,700 varieties, most of which — covering ninety percent of total output value — are daily wares such as cases, cabinets, stools, desks and tables. They are exported to over 50 countries and regions, while involving thousands of craftsmen in that industry.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
—————————————————————————————————————————–

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!