12 Nov Asian Antiquities
“The artist is a collector of things imaginary or real. He accumulates things with the same enthusiasm that a little boy stuffs his pockets. The scrap heap and the museum are embraced with equal curiosity…” – Paul Rand
I must have begun my fascination with curiosities and decor from the Far East when I was old enough to start noticing my mother’s love of chinoiserie and Asian antiques. Over time, and always carefully picked, she would add to her collection with each perfect piece she came across. Whether peering into her curio of carved figurines or admiring a beautiful jade necklace, I was entranced by the richness of color and intricate design patterns. This buddah was the first Asian piece I bought for myself when I moved into my first house and it has come to each residence since. Like mother like daughter…
This summer, Jess and I stumbled upon a booth overflowing with vintage Chinese objects at an antique show. We gravitated towards boxes filled with snuff bottles. Fashioned from exotic materials such as coral, ivory, malachite, turquoise and mother of pearl, glass was the most widely used and is the most common type to survive the tests of time. The intricately carved bottles held tobacco which was inhaled. The Chinese people believed it to have medicinal benefits : dispel colds, cure migraines and relieve sinus and tooth pain. Some bottles are marbled, others a flock of birds…and sometimes sexy scenes. We were giggling like teenager girls when we examined our loot with a closer look back in LA.
Foo Dogs, or guardian lions, are found at the entrances of Buddhist Temples and Chinese Imperial Palaces. They are always placed as a pair, one male and one female. They are thought to be protectors and over time, began to show up in homes. These beauties are made of carved marble and are the perfect bookends in my store.
Cloisonne is an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects. Beads, bangles, and bowls are made in this fashion as well as vases and urns. These lilac beauties above caught my eye in a vintage store. I am a sucker for Asian figurines as well, so I had to take this cutie too.
This set of Chinese Emperors is making me nostalgic for my trip to China in 2009 with Jess. We ooohed and aaahed at each and every statue we encountered. Watching the workmanship that was involved to make ceramic and porcelain objects gave us a whole new appreciation of this ancient art medium.
My most recent find, a giant watercolor on rice paper. There is something calming about these types of paintings as the loose strokes and neutral palate are easy on the eye and a perfect choice for a room where you go to relax. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeking out the next vintage treasures.