Lacquered Handicrafts and their Maintenance

Written by Juliette Qi

 

It is in China that we found the first uses of lacquer, nearly 1000 years BC and today it is one of the most representative materials of Asia. Lacquer is a resin extracted from a tree called the lacquer tree (there are several varieties). Several layers are applied, sometimes tens of layers, on the surface of the wares(funds means surface ) generally prepared. Its beauty comes from its smooth and pleasant feel and the look of depth created by its slight translucency.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Lacquer is harvested from the sap of the lacquer tree: an incision is made on the bark at the base of the tree, a container is placed underneath it and is filled with sap. The sap is very sticky and shiny. The process is long and inefficient. The lacquer process from start to finish is an essential component of Asian culture. The realization of a lacquered object requires a lot of time and patience, it follows extremely meticulous and careful steps.

console-chinoise-un-tiroir-laque-noire To learn more about the history of this craft and its artisans, I recommend you watch this documentary “THE GREAT SHOKUNIN”:

 

Pearl lacquer Chinese furniture

The characters and decorations in nacre (mother-of-pearl) are composed of several elements that must be arranged and assembled according to the characteristics of the material piece of furniture itself (I mean in order as in in the right pattern), such as a Chinese curved entry piece. The sense of detail is very important for the decoration of mother-of-pearl elements. Mainly women are chosen for this job which requires a lot of attention to detail. Here, a Chinese piece of furniture that is covered with mother-of-pearl.

timg (2)

The different colors and pigments are arranged to color the nacre. When we look at the equipment used in the fabrication, we’ll find it is far from an industrial process, rather the highest quality of local craftsmanship in the most noble sense of the word. For example, the lacquered jewelry boxes concentrate a lot of techniques onto a small surface.

 

Maintain Your Lacquered Objects

To use and keep your lacquered objects for a long time, we have put together the following set of special tips for you:

timg (1)

  • Never place the object near a heat source or in a place that is too cold
  • Maintain it with a non-aggressive foam cleaner (like a foam cleaner? Yes, and can you replace the Franch Brand with some American Brand if that make more sense?) such as O’Cedar or Pliz (available in supermarkets)
  • Wipe only with a soft cloth slightly dampened with fresh water
  • Keep the object away from sharp objects or cutting objects
  • Lacquered vases cannot hold water
  • Food contact with your trays or plates should be avoided
  • Never put the object in the microwave, or even use it to hold hot dishes

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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!

Advertisements

The Culture of Chinese Antique Furniture

Written by Juliette Qi

 

As a country with a long history and refined civilization, China has a real taste for brightly colored furniture, which is heavily influenced by and involved in oriental and Asian traditions. Indeed, Chinese furniture exhibits both the common characteristics of Asian furniture and the main characteristics of traditional Chinese culture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ancient Chinese furniture is often crafted based on the necessary conditions of Yin and Yang, a Taoist belief. Thus, its design is optimized not only for practical use but also to ensure a better Fengshui, a chance in life or spiritual protection according to the folk belief (this idea comes from an ancient belief). That’s why the color red is ubiquitous in Chinese furniture as we can see in the wedding cabinet, it represents positive energy. Copper or brass is widely used on sections of furniture which can be opened/closed due to its power to chase bad minds away.

Ancient Chinese furniture, which was intended either for the imperial court or ordinary people, was enhanced by cabinetmakers with excellent natural materials and with great care, extended and refined based on the traditions of previous dynasties dating back thousands of years.

 

Three Characteristics of Ancient Chinese Furniture

First of all, the job is always executed to perfection. The structure of the furniture is strictly adhered to and highly methodical while the lines are very smooth. Their splendor and clear colors (of what?) are realized by the delicate sculpting of the furniture and the repetitive varnishing, which occurs 7 times in total.

2
The Details of Careful Engraving

 

Secondly, the shapes and variety of models are totally unique throughout the whole world. There are more than 100 variations, like the imperial bed that was made over the course of a thousand days of work; There are also all sorts of dining tables, desks, chairs, wardrobes, buffets, screens, dining racks, buckets and benches. These are valuable works of art and are to be appreciated by everyone.

Last but not least, the decorative patterns on the windows or doors have very specific powers. According to Chinese legends, they are able to hunt down evil spirits and bring good luck to the family.

 

Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Styles of Chinese Furniture

Southeast China has a temperate and mild climate. The generous nature there offers a very flowery and green spring, at the same a very rich and varied harvest autumn time. Thus, from the first imperial dynasties until today, these very favorable conditions make the region the “land of fish and rice”(like the land of milk and honey) – the major financial assets of ancient and agricultural China. This cultural subtlety gives cabinetmakers in the region a favorable condition for sumptuous and extremely varied creations. Furniture facades often describe a scene of life or nature: the flight of birds, flowers, plants are the most common decorations .

3
Tea Table with Bird and Flower Motifs

 

In contrast, northern China is cold, dry, and sometimes arid. The people there are simple, honest and frank. The furniture looks like its users, it is rustic and solid, but very practical.

300441429767133043766573982_950

Furniture and decorations are seen by Chinese families as signs of wealth and they really appreciate their furniture. To equip their places, they choose the raw materials used to create their furniture with the greatest care – wood, bamboo etc. They also invite experienced cabinet-makers to come to their homes for a few weeks. These traveling cabinet-makers, admired by all, are housed fed and laundered and perform their craft to the highest standard, each with his own style, leading to a wide variety of creations.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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!

Children’s shoes with Tiger’s Heads

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Tiger-headed shoes are an example of traditional Chinese folk crafts. These children’s shoes, made from a variety of soft fabrics, feature a tiger at the front of the shoe and embroidered soles. Their name comes from the from the front part of the shoe that looks like the head of a tiger. In northern China, people also refer to them as “cat-headed shoes”. Wearing these brightly colored cloth shoes which all have such special designs is a traditional custom for young Chinese people and symbolizes good fortune.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Chinese culture, tigers are considered auspicious, so women embroider the vamp of the shoe in the shape of a tiger, hoping that their children will become as strong and vibrant as this animal. In addition, the bright image of the tiger’s head has been thought to chase away evil spirits and to protect children from diseases or disasters in their lives. It is a complicated job to make tiger-headed shoes and it requires a lot of delicate work like embroidery and weaving, especially on the very front of the shoe. The main part of the shoe is largely red and yellow and the craftsmen generally use thick lines to draw the outline of the mouth, the eyebrows, the nose and the eyes of the tiger to express its power in an exaggerated way.

 

Tancheng County, Linyi, Shandong Province (East China),2017. Zhao Kaiying, 85, has been making tiger-headed shoes for more than 20 years.

 

These shoes, offered to the child from an early age, present a tiger head in the front of the vamp. As a guardian animal and devourer of demons, the tiger protects the child against evil spirits. Other symbols are also embroidered under the shoes.

The origins of the tiger-headed shoe have no historical records, but there are several popular legends about them. The following is one of the legends that would explain the origin of these shoes: a long time ago, there was a lady with skillful hands and good artistic taste. She was very good at embroidery, so that her child was always well dressed. One night a monster came to the village and took all the children except his son. From then on, people began to realize that the child’s shoes were decorated with a tiger’s head at their ends to scare the monster, leaving the child safe. As a result, people started to imitate this practice.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the eyes of the general public, the tiger is a robust and powerful animal with the title of “king of animals”. So when this animal is mentioned, it evokes in people the idea of ​​power and fear. As a result, some expressions about tiger, such as the roar of the tiger, the scary aspect of the tiger (Chinese: 虎威, pinyin: Huwei) or vigorous as a tiger (Chinese: 虎虎有生气, pinyin: huhuyoushengqi) were invented along with this culture.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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!

Landscape All-around: The Four Famous Embroideries

Written by Juliette Qi

 

As a traditional handicraft art, Chinese embroidery has an important place in the history of Chinese art and the textile industry. Throughout its history and even today, it is still improving technically and is renewed for the new aesthetic designs . It is practiced throughout China and has different characteristics depending on the region, among which we invite you to discover the four best known modern schools.

 

Su Embroidery

Su

 

Suzhou embroidery, which dates back 4000 years, is considered one of the four main schools of this Chinese handicraft, along with those in Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan. All of the works are handmade on a silk material such as taffeta, satin and raw silk.

Su 2

 

The Suzhou School is renowned for the finesse of its products. To obtain the desired artistic effect, a silk thread is subdivided into 2, 4, 6, 8 or even 48 strands, each as thin as a single silk fiber.

Su 3
Girls who practice Su embroider

Suzhou embroidery now has 40 styles instead of the traditional 18, while silk threads have six thousand subtle nuances. Consequently, almost all drawings such as traditional Chinese paintings, oil paintings, gouaches, color photos or calligraphy, can be reproduced using Suzhou embroidery.

 

Yue Embroidery

Yue embroidery refers to embroidered work done in the Guangdong Province. It is said that this style of embroidery was originally created by the Li ethnic minority about 2,000 years ago.

Yue2

Yue embroidery is best known for its ingenious designs that incorporate auspicious symbols and best wishes into its embroidery work, and it acts on the merits of various artistic forms such as painting and folk-art paper cutting. The Yue embroidery works collected at the Palace Museum (Forbidden City, Beijing) are the most representative and the most numerous works of this embroidery school.

Yue

There are two branches of the Yue Embroidery School which are “Chao Embroidery” and “Guang Embroidery”. In 2006, the “Guang Embroidery” was included in the representative list of the national intangible heritage and became an art protected by the Guandong Province as traditional folk culture legacy.

 

Shu Embroidery

“Embroidery Shu” is the general term for embroidery work mainly produced in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. It has enjoyed great fame since the Han dynasty and peaked in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Shu embroidery gradually formed its own industry.

Shu

In this style of embroidery, satin and colored silk are the main materials. The unique sewing methods and embroidery techniques contribute to its expressive and artistic effects.

La broderie Shu est utilisée à la fois sur des pièces artistiques et sur des objets qui peuvent servir chaque jour. Des dessus de lit, des draps, des pantoufles, des vêtements peuvent être brodés en style  Shu apportant couleur et beauté à l’utilisateur. De plaisantes pièces d’art sont également produites dans le style Shu. Elles peuvent être comprises de tentures murales, de paravents ou de rideaux. Les couleurs riches et les images vivantes que l’on trouve dans la broderie  Shu sont censées rappeler au spectateur le plaisir que l’on peut trouver dans chaque chose vivante. C’est peut-être pour ce plaisir que la broderie  Shu reste populaire de nos jours.

Shu2

Some artisans sum up the Shu embroidery as “rigorous and fine points, clear and elegant colors, along with beautiful and regular lines “. Shu embroidery is used for both artistic works and objects that can be used in everyday life. Bed covers, sheets, slippers, and clothes can all be embroidered in the Shu style, bringing color and beauty to the user’s possessions. Pleasant art works can also apply embroidery in Shu style, like wall hangings, screens or curtains. The rich colors and vivid images found in Shu embroidery are meant to remind the viewer of the pleasure that can be found in daily life. It is perhaps for this reason that Shu embroidery remains popular today.

 

Xiang Embroidery

Xiang embroidery is the general term given to embroidered work produced in Changsha and the surrounding areas (Hunan Province). This style of embroidery developed from folk Hunan embroidery and absorbed the very essence of embroidery schools like Su and Yue. The unearthed embroidery from tombs of the Chu Kingdom(1115BC-223BC) in 1958 and the 40 embroidered dresses dug out from Mawangdui tombs in Changsha in 1972 indicate that Hunan embroidery techniques reached a fairly high standard over 2000 years ago.

xiang2

During  its long history, Xiang Embroidery developed a unique style, relying on traditional features of Chinese paintings. The Award of Excellence and the First Prize were awarded to Xiang Embroidery, at the Turin Exhibition (Italy) in 1911 and at the Panama World Fair in 1933 respectively.

Xiang

Inheriting styles and inventions from long-standing embroiderers and incorporating modern cross-cultural designs, today’s Chinese embroidery has a new development for new designs and modern products, not only for its local specialties, but also for its universal aesthetic traits.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

The Nuo Mask: A Collection of Primitive Art and Shamanism

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Evolution of Nuo Culture

Nuo can be considered as a Chinese ritual dating back to the earliest times, some dating back to the Neolithic period. This ceremony consists of various dances and processions for the gods, similar to the rites of exorcisms. In Chinese,”Nuo” means “expulsion of demons”. The character nuo(傩)refers to exorcism ceremonies performed by masked officiants. The ceremonies to which this term applies involve the expulsion of the used energies of the year and a purification to welcome the new energies. To justify this, most contributors use an etymological approach of looking for the oldest mention of character.

1
The Nuo Dance

 

The Nuo culture, inscribed on the list of Chinese national cultural heritage, includes several genres, even though the one with the masks is one of the most important. We can also notice the existence of nuo altars, nuo rituals, nuo dances, nuo theater and even nuo customs. Later, the Nuo culture evolved and developed into an atypical art of Nuoxi, a popular show often to express wishes of prosperity and luck in various ceremonies.

 

Nuoxi: the Archaic Masked Theater

In ancient China, diseases or cataclysms were blamed on the presence of demons. It was therefore during the Nuo ceremonies and processions many masks were displayed, representing a whole pantheon of demons and gods. Thus, the accoutered villagers danced and tried to repel the evil forces and to attract the divine protection by using their thunderous masquerades. Several kinds of ceremonies exist and are devoted to the manufacture, use and protection of masks. Only men are allowed to make, use and protect Nuo masks. During ceremonies, men wearing a mask are considered possessed by a god or a divine spirit. During this period, they are forbidden to speak or move freely.

One can firstly note (a little bit too formal for a blog) through the Nuo masks the solicitation towards nature. Most of the divinations of the Nuo culture are thus representations of elements of nature. All actions seen and performed during rituals such as flattery, veneration and sacrifice are indeed a plea to nature. These ceremonies are not only the portrayal of the contradiction between man and nature. But we can also note the domination of man over the forces of nature. In those ancient times, these forces were seen as ugly, wicked, and weird creatures. By chasing them and beating them, men of that time thought that they could simultaneously drive out disease, death, and all other existences that clogged up human life. Finally, these rituals also represented human relationships as a whole. Through the Nuo ceremonies, we could promote the moral principles of a perfect education governing the human being.

2
The nuo masks of Yuanling Town

 

Each scary and often grimacing mask corresponded to a specific god. Most of the time, these masks have jaws and eyes that are sometimes even articulated, which reinforces their terrifying effect. This effect is sought after because its purpose was originally to scare the demon Xiao Gui who was found responsible for diseases and calamities.

If the masks were originally bronze, the material used has evolved over time. Wood was used more and more. Although it is more fragile than bronze, it has the advantage of better weather resistance, especially when it is treated with paint or covered with plaster. According to ancient legends, in some areas travelers encountered Nuo temples every five kilometers. This testified to the importance of Nuo culture in ancient China.

3
A Show in front of the Nuo Temple of Nanfeng

 

In recent decades, Nuo masks and documents attesting to the existence of such masks have been unearthed throughout China. Additionally, the masks which have been passed down from generation to generation, now circulate among people or are collected by Nuo actors and artists.

The collectors’ taste for Chinese masks seems to have played a role in spreading the term “Nuo” throughout the world. Through its use, not only does the term become known and commonplace, but masks take on a broader meaning than mere mobile artefacts. Representing or substituting for complex theatrical forms, these masks are collected for both their ritual aspects and entertainment functions.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Yunjin: from Traditional Art to Cultural Heritage

Written by Juliette Qi

 

The Yunjin云锦 brocade craft from Nanjing (Nanjing) has been the traditional Chinese art of weaving for over 1500 years. This technique is still used today in the Jiangsu Province in eastern mainland China. Recognized for its aesthetic values and use, it was named by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

1
Yunjin Cloth

 

Recognized Cultural Heritage

Mainly preserved in the Jiangsu Province in eastern China, this artform has more than a hundred processes, including the manufacture of looms, the sketching of patterns, the creation of jacquard cards for the preparation of drawings, the assembly of the craft and the multiple steps of the weaving itself.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yunjin brocade crafts in Nanjing require the use of a large loom, which must be operated by two craftsmen. The first is on the side of the lower parts and the second on the upper parts. The particularity of this loom is that it allows you to weave fine and noble materials such as silk threads, gold threads and peacock feathers. The tissues obtained are therefore of very good quality. Generally selected to make royal clothes, including the dragon robe and the crown for emperors in the past, this technique continues to be applied to the manufacturing of sumptuous clothing and souvenirs today.

 

Aesthetic and Academic Value

Fabrics made using this technique have a good reputation all over China. Thanks to the fact that this technique has been passed down from generation to generation, we can still make the famous dragon robe of the emperor. Additionally, fabric made using this technique nowadays is mostly intended for use by researchers and museums.

2
Today’s Yunjin Weaver

 

The weavers used to perform their task by singing ballads, in order to memorize the technique which was used. Indeed, each rhythm corresponds to a very precise technique. While “passing the chain” and “separating the weft”, the weavers sing mnemonic ballads that help them to memorize the techniques they apply, thus creating san atmosphere of solidarity around the loom, as well as an artistic dimension.

For these weavers, their art is part of a historic mission: in addition to making fabrics for contemporary use, Yunjin is used for the reproduction of ancient silk fabrics for researchers and museums. Renowned for the splendor of its fabrics, Yunjin remains popular throughout the country.

3
Reproduced Traditional Design

 

In Chinese history, a Yunjin brocade is a symbol of status and an emblem of the aesthetic notions. Yunjin brocade patterns varied depending on the grade of mandarins. As Guo Jun, a weaver who owns his own workshop, says, “The motives are the soul of the Yunjin brocade. Without these allegorical motifs, the creation of brocades lacks value. Technically, one could change the motif of a unicorn into a portrait of Donald Trump, but the traditional national costume would then become a casual t-shirt”. After forty years of weaving Yunjin brocades, Guo not only takes on apprentices to learn to design brocade motifs, but also teaches them Chinese traditional culture.

4

 

Guo Jun, like many contemporary craftsmen, hopes that his workshop will train some apprentices who can make Yunjin brocade according to the modern aesthetic for that this craft can enter the international collection market and to suit modern styles. He thinks it is only with the recognition of collectors of art objects that the of Yunjin Brocade with noble character will be reborn.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Sculptures of Chinese Seals

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Until modern times ,the seal has been a form of signature recognized in China as the hallmark of its owner. The seal is still widely used in the artistic world but also in Chinese administration. Despite its small size, the seal plays an extremely important role in the life of Chinese people.

image002

 

Invented in the 2nd century BC, the seal became a personal mark and gradually an artform. The seal was originally made of metal, for example bronze, silver or sometimes even gold. Over the centuries some seals have also been produced with hard stone and ivory. Their value was also, to a certain extent, a reflection of the quality and talent of the engraver.

 

A Manual Artform

image004

 

Traditionally, seals are engraved by hand. With the sculptural techniques, the seals perfectly combine the beauty of Chinese characters with the drawing of lines. A seal reproduces the same image of the same characters or figures whenever it is used, so it can be considered as the precursor of printing ,which is one of the Four Great Inventions together with Compass, Gunpowder and Papermaking.

In the past, the materials which were used to make the seal were generally bronze and jade, both of which are very hard. They must be slowly and carefully melted or abraded by an expert craftsman during a complicated process. Until the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the great painter Wang Mian 王冕 engraved his own seals with pyrophyllite, which is a relatively tender material. This skilled calligrapher not only brought out the beauty of his calligraphy, but also appreciated the special effect achieved by his engraving, which made this method of engraving seals very popular among the scholars of that time.

Later, a new character is added to the seal in the form of a poem on the side of the seal inspired by the artist’s feelings towards his work, or simply their name, hometown and date of engraving. Promoted by scholars over centuries, the art of seal engraving has become one of the three pillars of the fine arts, as well as calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting.

 

Engraving Process and the Application of Seal

The essential part of carving the seals is the engraving of the surface to be stamped. The high- degreed engraving includes the excellence of three aspects: the composition, the technique with the knife and the calligraphic technique. First, one must choose the calligraphic style and decide the disposition of the characters, which is called the “composition” of a seal. In addition, engraving characters with skillful moves is called “knife technique”. The fusion of these two elements results in an entirely new form of expression called “calligraphic technique”.

 

image005

In order to seek more refinement and beauty for the design of the seal, engravers, in addition to etching the surface to stamp, sometimes also create an exquisite and elaborate sculpture on the top of the seal or carve a decoration on the sides in bas relief. They can also carve an original and amazing drawing by taking advantage of the different textures and colors of the stone in order to give more artistic value to the seal. The combination of two- or three-dimensional techniques on a seal adds more depth and a particular artistic sophistication to it.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Dongba Writing: A Primitive Pictogram

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Dongba Culture and Naxi Ethnicity

In China, the Dongba culture, associated with Lijiang City in the Yunnan Province and Muli District in the Sichuan Province, refers to the traditional culture of the Naxi ethnic group. The Naxi live mostly in northern Yunnan, in Lijiang, Weixi, Zhongdian, Ninglang and Yongsheng prefectures.

1
The Naxi in Traditional Costume

 

The Dongba culture is based on the polytheistic religion of the same name and also has own writing, dances, paintings and music. “Dongba” is the name given to shamans, types of wizards, who transmit this culture from generation to generation. The Dongba priest is an important figure in the community because he preaches the harmony between men and nature, which is a fundamental value among the Naxi people, just like the cult of the ancestors.

The Dongba religion, more than a thousand years old, has been influenced by Tibetan Lamaism over the centuries, but also by Taoism and Chinese Buddhism. In this religion, the elements of nature are considered as gods who rule the world.

 

2
The polytheist Dongba religion

 

From an artistic perspective, Dongba culture is indeed very rich because it is transmitted and expressed by music and painting. Many colorful scrolls depicting religious scenes or deities can be found in Lijiang.

The city of Lijiang is a research center which studies the Dongba culture and keeps all objects related to this culture. Many Chinese and foreign researchers come to this place to study this fascinating culture. In religious rituals, the Naxis dance in their traditional costumes reminiscent of Tibetan ones. They also sing sacred texts, written in Dongba.

 

Dongba Writing: The Legendary Characters

3
Wood Engraving of Dongba Writing

 

The dongba or tomba script (in romanized Naxi: ‘na-‘khi ²ggŏ-¹baw) is one of the scriptures used to write in the Naxi language, which is spoken by the Naxi people. It is more than 1000 years old and is probably the only predominantly pictographic writing system used today; however, some characters are used as syllabic characters.

There are currently 2000 religious works written in the Dongba language in which more than 2000 pictograms are used. These books are of crucial importance to understand the Dongba culture because they inform us about religion and customs but also about philosophy, history, literature, astronomy, medicine, fauna and flora as well as the paintings and music of this culture.

In the Lijiang prefecture in particular, the signs are usually written in dongba, han Chinese and sometimes in English. There are also dongba – hanzi / english dictionaries in the bookstores of the city.

4
Dongba calligraphy

 

Dongba calligraphy is still practiced by using bamboo stencils, as well as prints, both of which usually use a high-quality handmade paper specifically made for Dongba.

The traditional production of dongba paper uses the bark of two shrubs, wikstroemia delavayi and wikstroemia lichiangensis, growing at an altitude of 2,000m above sea-level, as in the canton of Sanbei. The barks are cut into thin strips, soaked in a tray, and then dried on boards in the sun. There are also many murals of this writing, in bas-relief or painting.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Puppet Opera and Folk Belief

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Peoples around the world use puppets in their shows. Puppets have often been used in dramas and comedies, adding of course music and sound effects to make the show more attractive. Puppet shows are very famous in China and many characters (Chinese) are as famous as Pinocchio is for Westerners.

 

 

The History of Shadow Play

It is said that the Mongols who participated in the conquest of China in the 13th century enjoyed being entertained by watching shadows in their camps. They took their own entertainment with them, and it became a popular form of recreation in the Ottoman Empire that later spread to the western parts of the territory.

1
Puppets used for Chinese Shadow Play

 

Shadow plays were introduced in France when French missionaries returned from China in 1767 and gave performances in Paris and Marseille. Isst is in this way that the shadow play entered European territories. The performances of shadow plays were very successful in China and we began to call them the ” Ombres chinois “, which is the French equivalent of the shadow plays coming from China. This artform had its glory days in Paris during the 19th century. The cabaret ” Chat Noir ” (Black Cat) of Montmartre (Paris) also produced a large number of shows in the 80s.

 

The Popular Theatrical Show

It was usually the leader of the temple community who invited the troupe and decided on the show on the occasion of the birthday of the deity. The shows were presented in front of the temples on a stage set up for the occasion, in camphor wood sheds richly carved and covered with gold foil.As a reflection of the architecture of the temples, the shed has colonnades of dragons and the sculptures of characters or animals as symbols of good auguries.

2
A Traditional Show in the Countryside

 

Like the classical spectacles intended for the deities, the audience, if there was one, did not pay to watch the puppet shows. Sometimes in the countryside, the presentation had only the god of the soil as a spectator. His altar was built in the middle of a rice field and no human spectator came to attend the performance.

3
A Modern Show

 

Nowadays technical devices have appeared, computers control lighting, machines, modern paintings and dyes allow artists to create shadows and colorful figures. It is very difficult for some shadow show artists to cope with new technology, but some of them take advantage of these new technologies and use them wisely for the development of their performances in China.

 

The Relationship to Belief: Ceremony for the Deities

Even though the puppet performances were intended for the entertainment of the deities, the show itself was purely profane. In addition, the performance master always had some magic skills, mainly in exorcism. For example they used a wire puppet representing Zhong Kui for the purification of places infested by ghosts.

4
The Character Zhong Kui

 

Other ceremonies could involve puppets with sheaths; they took place in the open air and usually at the event site. The ceremony was intended to pacify some wandering souls deemed responsible for disasters such as fires, floods and diseases.

After these ceremonies, the show was played normally in the sheds. People prepare suggestively their show about water if there was a fire, about healing if someone was ill etc … but without referring directly to the reason for the ceremony during the show.

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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!

Most Inspiring Oriental Home Decorations

Written by Juliette Qi

 

It seems that Asian-style decoration is slowly infiltrating contemporary decor. It attracts everyone due to its serenity, its relaxing forms and its diversity which is in harmony with modern interior design.

But how can we integrate the original Asian style into our interior? Can we create a modern and elegant decor while adding Zen elements or oriental beauty? Here, we present you with the most inspiring projects to give you some ideas.

 

Asian Decoration of a Modern Living Room

1

 

Zen deco implies the almost ethereal effect of harmony and perfect balance. You can create this effect in your interior by incorporating natural materials, a neutral and calm color palette and furniture with a simple and minimalist design. Just like for other decorating styles, exquisite balance is a key concept in Asian decoration.

2

 

Original Decoration Inspired by Asian style

Open and airy spaces are much sought after in Zen oriental interiors where positive energy is encouraged to flow through the space. The inner harmony created by the objects and their negative white space is accentuated by using other elements of natural design such as wooden blinds and bamboo details in addition to Asian art paintings.

3

Round shapes are also very important in Asian decor because they represent a complete and perfect model. You can use circular decorative elements for the decoration of the front door or the doors of your storage furniture.

4

 

Elegant Living Room with Chinese Cultural Objects

Chinoiserie represents the whimsical Chinese influence through imaginative and complex designs.

5

The chinoiserie can create an almost magical atmosphere and it is most often found in embroidery and textiles, as decorative motifs on furniture, or on porcelain objects. Feel free to incorporate colorful Chinese motifs into your minimalist decor.

 

Bamboo as a Decoration for your Bedroom and Bathroom

6

Asian deco is also characterized by the use of many screens. No matter if it’s a simple screen placed in one of the corners of the room or a sliding screen-holder that separates two spaces, the screens create a beautiful Asian-style decor. They also act as room dividers for privacy while keeping connections among different rooms (They don’t completely separate the rooms like a wall).

 

Modern Asian Interior Decorated using Wood

7

Un des moyens les plus faciles et les plus versatiles d’incorporer des éléments de déco asiatique dans l’intérieur contemporain est d’intégrer du bambou. Les options sont vraiment illimitées et le bambou peut être présent sous forme de revêtement du sol, stores pour les fenêtres, meubles et même comme cadres de photos et de miroirs. Quelques tiges de bambou dans un vase haut pour décorer le salon est aussi une très bonne idée.

One of the easiest and most versatile ways to incorporate Asian deco elements into the your contemporary interior is to use bamboo. The options are truly endless and bamboo can be made into flooring, window blinds, furniture and even picture frames and mirrors. Some bamboo stems in a tall vase to decorate the living room is also a very good idea.

 

Asian Interior Decoration with Neutral Colors

8

Red is a color that evokes passion and its presence is very strong in Chinese culture. As the color of the sun, red symbolize life, energy and vitality. It is not without consideration that red and other strong colors must be incorporated in a space. But when they are there, it should be done with confidence and strength.

 

Bedroom with Canopy Bed

9

 

Mixing and matching Chinese prints on fabrics and furniture brings richness and taste to the space. As for achieving harmony in the interior design, try to combine rich shades with simple design elements and neutral colors. Remember that the purpose of your interior decor is to make you and all your guests feel good and serene.

10

 

 

 

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 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, 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!