This Chinese New Year the shopping malls are abuzz with all things Chinese, all very colourful and rich in culture. There is no mistaking, RED is the colour. It spells PROSPERITY and GOOD LUCK and we can never have enough of them.
Amidst all the feverish shopping for goodies, gifts and paraphernalia to usher in the new year, I took time to browse the Chinese folk arts stalls which are making a huge presence in some of the big malls.
Though the setting is modern, the artisans at the Chinese folk arts stalls hark back to ancient China. Everyone of them is so steeped in history. I guess going traditional serves a gentle reminder of the importance of retaining the arts and tradition in our cyber world. I couldn't help marvelling at the artistic dexterity of the different craftsmen. Do join me for a sampling of some of the popular folk arts.
It was the Chinese who invented paper. Here, pause and marvel at the intricate paper cuttings , a unique art form, created in the Tang Dynasty.
Red is a very popular colour. Chinese zodiac animals is one of the favourite motif. Scissors/knives are used to create this delicate artwork. These cuttings decorate windows, mirrors, walls, doors etc. to bring good luck.
Colourful cloth tigers, a popular folk handicraft, with the Mandarin character 'Wang' - meaning 'king' - on their foreheads. The cloth tiger is deemed to be a symbol of peace and luck. It is also highly regarded as the 'protector of fortunes'.
Chinese dough figurines is a popular folk art in urban and rural China. The artisan moulds figures and animals from wheat flour, glutinous rice flour, glycerin, bee honey with the help of tools like toothpicks, sharp pointed metal objects. The dough figurine master is seen here sculpting a face. Within minutes, a figurine is all yours if you care to own one.
The Chinese have flown kites for at least 2,500 years. They were probably the first people to make kites. Kite -flying was/is an activity for the young and old. Popular designs are flowers, birds, animals which are framed by the bamboos and then pasted with paper or silk.
The dragon kite is a winner.
Any subject on the whole gamut of traditional Chinese painting inside a snuff bottle! Amazingly intricate with great attention to details.
A tiny brush ( angled) to do the painstaking painting within a limited space.
A tiger very much 'alive' inside a glass globe!
Chinese knotting, a decorative handicraft began in the Tang and Sung Dynasty ( 960 -1279 AD). The knots are hand -tied and evolved from the knots used in daily life through thousands of years.