Traditional Arts & Crafts

Ceramics and pottery
Ceramics and pottery Chinese ceramics and pottery Background Ceramics are objects that have been shaped from earthen materials and fired in a kiln to make them waterproof and fairly durable. The basic materials are a mineral-rich clay containing kaolinite, silica and feldspar. The crystal structure of these minerals makes the clay supple and easy to shape into just about any shape that withstands the firing process. Feldspars are aluminosilicates that contain sodium, potassium or calcium, all of...
Chinese porcelain
Chinese porcelain Porcelain Definition In the West, whiteware ceramics include earthernware, stoneware and porcelain, depending on the composition of the body and the temperature at which it is fired in the kiln.  But in China, only two categories are traditionally recognised, high fired and low fired ceramics.  In the oldest dictionaries, porcelain is defined as ‘fine, compact pottery’.  In the West, the defining feature of porcelain is usually its translucence, but this is not...
Enamel
Enamel An introduction to cloisonné Cloisonné is a famous traditional enamelware with a history of over 500 years.  It is known as the ‘Blue of Jingtai’ in China because blue was the first colour used for enamelling and Jingtai was the title of the 7th Ming Emperor during whose reign cloisonné became widely popular. A wide variety of luxury goods can be made from cloisonné, including vases, jars, bowls, plates, boxes, ashtrays and jewellery. The articles are brilliant in colour and...
Feng Shui
Feng Shui What is ? This is a simple question that can be difficult to answer. is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. "Feng" means "wind" and "shui" means "water" (pronounced fung-shway). In Chinese culture gentle wind and clear water have always been associated with good harvest and good health...
Jade
Jade The material jade is actually made up of two different kinds of stone, the most widespread mineral being nephrite, a variety of the mineral actinolite and a silicate of calcium and magnesium. It is composed of fibrous intertwined crystals. The other, more precious mineral which is used more sparingly, is pyroxene jadeite, a material composed of interlocking and very compact crystals. Chemically, it is a mix of sodium and aluminium silicate NaAl[Si2O6]. ’s strength, comparable even to...
Silk
Silk is without a doubt one of China’s major contributions to the world and it has been an important part of the Chinese economy for thousands of years.  How to produce this fabric, which is smooth and luxurious and able to retain warmth in the winter and yet be cool in the summer, was once the world’s most carefully guarded secret, only known to the Chinese for several millennium.  The world famous Road that opened trade from Asia to Europe was built, at the cost of...
Snuff Bottles
Snuff Bottles Chinese snuff bottles Snuff bottles are a relatively recent product considering China’s long history; it was only toward the end of the 16th century that tobacco reached China, about the same time that it reached England.  There are many different theories about who brought tobacco into the country – the Russians, Manchu, Portuguese, the Jesuit Priests . . . but most likely it came from many areas and many different groups of people at roughly the same time. Exactly when tobacco...
Tibetan thangka
Tibetan thangka Tibetan Thangka A type of sacred Buddhist painting, are created to be used in devotional meditation in places of worship or in private homes. They are intended to help people to contemplate or think about things, often as instructed by a spiritual teacher. A thangka could also be used as a reference for details of posture, attitude. In this way, a thangka provides iconographical information in pictures, but there might also be a text of the same meditation provided...
Wood used in Art & Crafts
Wood used in Art & Crafts About woods Most hardwood trees grow in hot climates, especially in tropical areas.  Much of the hardwood found in Chinese furniture, then, was not native to China but was introduced to the country through trade.  It is not only the beauty of the wood that gives Chinese furniture its value, however.  It is treasured for the meticulous craftsmanship, joinery and design that went into the pieces, as well as its cultural significance.   In contrast, for example, new and old
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