Asian History and Culture
Asia is the birthplace of ancient and complex civilizations. Libraries
full of well researched books attempt to bring an understanding to Western minds.
The information on this page is at best only meant to tempt you to search deeper.
Go to: Dragon, Chinese History,
Chinese Zodiac or Lunar
New Year Animal Signs, Textiles,
Auspicious Decorative Symbols,
Asian Home Decorating, Ikat,
Sake, Foo Dogs
Animal signs are based on the Chinese Lunar New Year. To find your
sign, just add 12 to your year of birth until you reach one of those listed. If
you were born before the Chinese Lunar New Year, you'll need to subtract one year.
Lunar New Year start dates and animal signs: 2016-8-Feb, Monday, Monkey; 2017-28-Jan,
Saturday, Rooster; 2018-16-Feb, Friday, Dog; 2019-5-Feb, Tuesday, Pig; 2020-25-Jan,
Saturday, Rat; 2021-12-Feb, Friday, Ox; 2022-1-Feb, Tuesday, Tiger; 2023-22-Jan,
Sunday, Rabbit; 2024-10-Feb, Saturday, Dragon; 2025-29-Jan, Wednesday, Snake; 2026-17-Feb,
Tuesday, Horse; 2027-6-Feb, Saturday, Goat, etc.
Michael Aram Pig Box
Lalique Pig Figurine
Lalique Gold-Stamped Pig Figurine
|As part of a growing series of lidded boxes
representing animals from the Chinese zodiac, this piece embodies the
diligence, compassion, and generosity of those born during the Year of
the Pig. Represented as sincere and honest as it earnestly gazes upward,
each piece captures the inherently happy spirit of the pig. "I love to
design pieces that carry meaning and which can be given for special
occasions across different cultures. The sculpt of the zodiac boxes each
express the individual characteristics of the animal, and were sculpted
fairly quickly so that the pieces would have a spontaneous quality to
||To celebrate 2019, the year of the Pig in
Chinese astrology, Lalique created the pig sculpture. The pig enriches
Lalique's bestiary as a symbol of luck, wealth and loyalty
||To celebrate 2019, the year of the Pig in
Chinese astrology, Lalique created the pig sculpture. The pig enriches
Lalique's bestiary as a symbol of luck, wealth and loyalty. The darling
sculpture is accented with hand-painted 24-karat gold enamel.
Lalique Small Gold Stamped Rooster Figure
Lalique Gold-Stamped Bantam Rooster
Baccarat 2016 Zodiac Rooster
|Chinese astrology celebrates 2017 as the year of
the Rooster, which represents fidelity and punctuality. A charming
figure for your desk or shelf, this small rooster is adorned with
hand-applied gold accents.
||Handcrafted rooster figure. Lead crystal with gilt
||People born in the year of the rooster are
observant, resourceful, courageous and talented. Offer an elegant nod to
this loyal animal of the Chinese zodiac with Baccarat's beautifully
detailed crystal decor.
Lalique Sitting Tiger Small, Clear
Lalique Crystal Tiger
Daum Horoscope Tiger
|Chinese astrology is founded on astronomical,
religious and calendar notions. Its 12 symbolic animals have been
progressively adopted by many countries culture. The Tiger is the third
animal in the Chinese calendar. He is described as courageous, impulsive
and solitary. This animal, both proud and haughty, has the power and
grace of the great felines. Symbol of strength and virility, the Sitting
Tiger in clear crystal, tamed by the glass masters, is now part of
Lalique vast animal kingdom.
||Crystal tiger. France
||Handcrafted crystal tiger. France
Baccarat Zodiac Dog Figurine, Clear
Baccarat Zodiac Dog Figurine, Gold
Daum Golden Retriever Sculpture
|In 2018, Baccarat will be celebrating the year of the Dog with a
creation in cristal clear. An elegant gift for those born under the sign
or for collectors of animal figures.
||In 2018, Baccarat will be celebrating the year of the Dog with a
creation in gold. An elegant gift for those born under the sign or for
collectors of animal figures.
||Handcrafted sculpture. Lead crystal. 4.5"T. Made in France.
Simon Pearce Dog Figurine in Gift Box
LaliqueGolden Retriever Sculpture
|With the admirable traits of loyalty, honesty and
kindness in mind, we crafted an ode to canine companions in brilliant
glass, honoring their place in our hearts during this the Year of the
Dog and every year.
||Handcrafted Golden Retriever. Realistically sculpted
in gold-luster lead crystal.
Lalique Kazak Standing Horse with Gold Stamping
Lalique Wisdom Monkeys, 3-Piece Set
|The Kazak horse pays homage to one of the most majestic animals on Earth,
the ultimate symbol of strength and speed. Crafted in clear crystal, the
movement of the mane and tail flying in the wind is highlighted by hand-painted
metallic. Crafted in black crystal, the movement of the mane and tail flying
in the wind is highlighted by hand-painted platinum.
||Handcrafted monkey figures. Made of lead crystal.
Symbol of power. Elegant Eastern accents for the home.
Daum Horoscope Dragon
Daum "Dragon 8" Sculpture
|Handcrafted crystal dragon. France
||The fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon symbolizes life and
power. The number 8—symbol of love and friendship, prudence and balance—is
also the sign of light and represents the sun at its height with its image
Drake the Dragon Accent Rug, 3' x 5'
Barclay Butera Lifestyle Emperor Rug
Black Dragon Rug
|Long a symbol of power and strength, this dynamic dragon accent rug
brings good luck into your favorite room. A brilliant palette of
cerulean blue, red and gold is soften by a fashionable faux-faded
patina. Loom-woven of New Zealand wool and nylon, for lasting quality
and color vibrancy.
||Rug design inspired by the culture-rich lands of the Far East. Power
loomed of New Zealand wool/nylon.
||Handmade rug. Hand knotted of hand-spun wool. Black floral
Chinese guardian lions, also known as foo dogs, are believed to
have strong mythic protective powers. They traditionally stood in front of Chinese
Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of
government officials. They are always created in pairs, usually a male and a female
with the male playing with a ball or orb and the female with a cub.
Jay Strongwater Foo Dog, Female
Jay Strongwater Foo Dog Box
Jay Strongwater Foo Dog, Male
|Part of the Chinese New Year collection. Hand-painted enamel set
with Swarovski crystals and presented on a marble base
||Handcrafted porcelain box with Foo Dog on top. Zinc embellishment
with a 14-karat gold finish. Hand-enameled and hand-set with Swarovski®
||Part of the Chinese New Year collection. Hand-painted enamel set
with Swarovski crystals and presented on a marble base
Some experts prefer "Three Teachings" rather than "religion" when
speaking about ancient China since they are not mutually exclusive and temples may
have images from more than one. Very generally:
- Confucianism concerns human relationships, or Man
- Buddhism teaches cycles of reincarnation and the heavens
of the afterlife, or Heaven
- Taoism is concerned with nature, or Earth
Baccarat Little Buddha
|A smaller version of the Baccarat best-selling gift, Little Buddha is
a reproduction of a very traditional hand-carved wooden Buddha.
Auspicious symbols and homonyms were often incorporated
in the decorative motifs of glazed porcelain. These pieces were often given as gifts
for birthday or New Year's celebrations.
- Peach-longevity or immortality
- Bats-good fortune especially red which wards off demons
- Five bats (wu fu)-5 happinesses: longevity,
wealth, health, virtue, natural death
- Dragon with 5 claws-emperor; 3 or 4 claws were used as court
gifts to attendants or foreign dignitaries
- Pine, Plum, Bamboo (Three Friends of Winter)-longevity, perseverance,
- Paired quails-peace and prosperity
- Pomegranate-wish for children
- Apple (ping) homonym for peace
- Koi are symbols of courage, grace and perseverance according
to a 3rd century Chinese book. Koi were introduced to Japan from China in the
||elegant lines and craftsmanship
||horseshoe and square-back chairs, flat couch beds, recessed-leg tables
with horse's -hoof feet
||no nails or glue, walnut, cypress, elm, pine, lacquer tinted with iron,
oxblood or red cinnabar powder for black, maroon and red hues
||focus on grain of rare imported hardwoods like zitan and huanghuali
Makeover – With Color and Style
If you are interested in
using the principles of Feng Shui to change your life, it may be time for a home
makeover. Feng Shui is the Chinese art of placement and using tools of the Feng
Shui trade can change how your home feels. In Feng Shui, the thought is flow of
energy will affect the way you feel in a space. We are all made up of the same stuff
energetically, and since it is all around, it will affect us. Often energy is moving
too quickly or it is stuck and you may feel drained or stuck in the mud if chi is
out of balance in a space. Balance and harmony is what good Feng Shui is all about
so how do you go about achieving just the right energetic mix for your home?
When decorating your home
with a Feng Shui eye, it takes part aesthetic taste and part common sense. Furniture
should be good quality and the edges are best if rounded. If you think about a lot
of points and sharp angles pointing at you all day that does not feel very good
does it. Your furnishings do not have to appear as if you just came home from a
trip to Hong Kong. However, having a few pieces of nice
Asian furniture in the home is a very nice touch.
Other good interior decorating pieces include
temple or ginger jars. Art and accessories might include
symbols such as the goldfish or peony blossom, as these call in wealth and luck.
A great choice for additional softness and the use of the wood element include bamboo.
Soft upholstery on sofas, chairs, pillows and more balance out sharp edges from
wood. Painting a wall is an easy, inexpensive makeover for a room. Paint affirmations
on the wall before a final coat with a new color. The “intention” of the affirmation
will always be in the room supporting your goals. You do not have to see Feng Shui
adjustments in order for them to work. Trust that they are serving you and forget
them or make them a beautiful statement for the world to notice. It does not matter;
Feng Shui works through intention, no matter what.
Take a cue from the outdoors
when deciding on your interior design theme. What colors of flowers are in your
backyard? A nice balance is created if the indoor interior colors are reflected
back when you look out the window. If you have mostly yellow daffodils, think about
featuring yellows inside your home too. If pink roses and peonies is more your taste,
these are very feminine flowers and the interior of the home is well served if it
reflects these colors. Picture one of the scenarios in your mind’s eye and see if
that “feels” good when you visually walk into the entrance of your home. Speaking
of the entrance, a front door and entry area is very important in Feng Shui. Metaphorically
speaking, all of the opportunity presented to you and your family comes from the
Universe and enters your space through the front door. It is common sense to have
round soft shapes in the entry as well so the opportunity feels welcome to enter.
Round rugs or rugs with round designs promote a well-balanced
entry as the energy is flowing at a good pace. I like using scent at the entrance
too. Natural essential oils hold energy and scientifically promote either relaxation
or rejuvenation. Choose from the many essential oils on the market and blend a unique
scent for you and your guests to enjoy. Have a diffuser going at the front door
and welcome all who enter (including opportunity) with a signature fragrance.
If you like using Feng
Shui in your life, try wearing good Feng Shui too. A red embroidered lotus jacket
provides a graceful silhouette as well as some energy for your spirit. Jewelry and
colors are very supportive to the body and spirit as a whole. For enhancing partnership,
wear pink. For better health, wear yellow. For more money, wear shades of purples.
For better career opportunities, wear black. If you love the look and feel of genuine
gemstone, that is even better. Real stones hold an energetic vibration that supports
the energy centers of the body. Fiery carnelian worn around the neck promotes fame
and a good reputation. Any type of jade jewelry is supportive and lucky to wear.
Metaphorical symbols are important in Feng Shui. A turtle bracelet signifies prosperity
and long life. A lucky coin bracelet is a great source of good fortune and luck.
Feng Shui will meet you
where you are in this journey of life and lovingly support you along the way. Try
bringing a little bit of Asia into your space, change things up with new colors
that reflect the outdoors, or bring in more softness around you. Just shake things
up and makeover your space to whatever suits you. Let Feng Shui support you towards
a happier healthier life.
- Batiks are made using a wax-resistant dye technique developed
in Java. The fabric is painted with melted wax and dipped in dye. The waxed
areas resist the dye so that when the wax is removed with heat the design is
revealed. The resulting fabric has a casual, Eastern feel that works well with
bamboo and rattan furniture.
- Brocade: fabric with a raised pattern usually woven into
silk. Probably first developed in China. Persian (Iranian) traditional brocades
are made with gold and silver threads. Textiles were originally hand embroidered
and the province of royalty reaching peak popularity during the 16th and 17th
centuries. They are now usually machine embroidered.
- Chintz: Cotton fabric originating in India
in the 1600's. Although the word comes from Hindi "chint" meaning spotted, it
usually now has a floral design and glazed.
- Damask: Woven fabric usually with a matte pattern on shiny
background created by using the same color in different weaves. The name comes
from Damascus, Syria, where the fabric originates.
- Folk textiles: indigo and white fabrics made in preindustrial
Japan for the general population who were prohibited from using the vibrant
colors of the upper classes.
- Ikat (ee-kaht) is an ancient fabric usually
associate with sarongs worn by Balinese royalty. Patterns of flowers, birds,
stripes, etc., are produced by weaving tie-dyed silk or cotton threads. This
technique is believed to have been separately developed by Japan, Argentina
- Muslin: Cotton fabric originally made in Mosul, Iraq. It
is lightweight and is often used for slipcovers.
- Paisley: Fabric with colorful, swirling teardrop
designs first made in northern India and based on the tree of life design. The
name comes from Scotland where the designs were used to make paisleys, or shawls.
Dating back to the 1700's, Kashmiri weavers used fine cashmere from Himalayan
mountain goats to create shawls with the swirly paisley patterns. They became
a fashion craze in Europe when Napoleon brought them back to France for his
wife, Empress Josephine in 1798. By the 1800's traders of the East India Company
took the shawls home to Scotland where weavers in Paisley hand-blocked the designs
and gave the pattern its name. In 1871 Scotland's Paisley Museum was founded.
In 1875 Arthur Lasenby Liberty opens his shop in London selling hand-printed
- Palampores: hand-painted panels with the tree of life motif
from India. The patterns are very large and usually seen in wall hangings, spreads
- Satin: woven fabric with a smooth, glossy side that reverses
to dull, usually in silk, developed in China.
- Taffeta: a luxurious, stiff fabric made by weaving yarn alternatively
over and under each warp yarn the entire length of the fabric.
- Indigo: According to expert Aboubakar Fofana, the blue hue
results from fermentation of bacteria. He feeds them dates and honey. Dried
leaves ferment in a vat for 9 months. Fabric is dipped, turns yellowish, then
turns blue when removed and exposed to air as the indigo oxidizes and becomes
colorfast. Some cultures believe it repels snakes and insects, some antiseptic
Ikat and Southeast Asia
Current style favorite Ikat is a Malay technique for printing woven
fabric by tie dying either or both yarns before weaving. Ikat decor with a difference.
Asia Pacific inspiration refreshes your room. Ikat (ee-kaht) is an
ancient fabric usually associate with sarongs worn by Balinese royalty. Patterns
of flowers, birds, stripes, etc., are produced by weaving tie-dyed silk or cotton
threads. This technique is believed to have been separately developed by Japan,
Argentina and India.
Sake is one of the fastest growing beverage categories
in the US. Sake literally means "alcoholic beverage." It's made from rice, but is
brewed like beer. The better the quality of the rice, the better the sake. Premium
sake is best served chilled. Light, clean sake with some citrus is usually paired
with sushi and shellfish, while earthy, richer sake goes with noodles, mushrooms
and meat.Perfect for sharing sake with friends, or a wonderful accompaniment to
a meal of sushi or teriyaki. Great as a gift or addition to your own kitchen. Made
Simple and sophisticated, filled tokkuri (sake flasks)
are often warmed by placing in a pan of hot water—the narrow neck helps retain heat.
In Japan, sake cups (ochoko) are traditionally kept full by dining companions rather
than poured for oneself.
Neolithic ca. 12000 - 2000 BC
XIA ca. 2000 BC - 1700 BC
Shang 1700 - 1027 BC
Western Zhou 1027-771 BC
- Spring and Autumn period 770 - 476 BC
- Warring States period 475 - 221 BC
Early Imperial China
Qin 221 - 207 BC
Western Han Period 206 BC - 9 AD: Tombs contain objects from
civilizations along the Silk Road
Hsing (Wang Mang interregnum) 9 - 25 AD
Eastern Han 25 - 220 AD
- Wei 220 - 265 AD
- Shu 221 - 263 AD
- Wu 229 - 280 AD
Western Jin 265 - 316 AD
Eastern Jin 317 -420 AD
- Song 420 - 478 AD
- Qi 479 - 501 AD
- Liang 502 - 556
- Chen 557 - 588 AD
- Northern Wie 386 - 533 AD
- Eastern Wei 534 - 549 AD
- Western Wei 535 - 557 AD
- Northern Qi 550 - 577 AD
- Northern Zhou 557 - 588 AD
Classical Imperial China
Sui 581 - 617 AD
T'ang 618 - 907 AD
- Later Liang 907 - 923 AD
- Later Tang 923 - 936 AD
- Later Jin 936 - 946 AD
- Later Han 947 950 AD
- Later Zhou 951 - 960 AD
Ten Kingdoms 907 - 979 AD
- Northern Song 960 - 1125
- Southern Song 1127 - 1279
Liao 916 - 1125 AD
Western Xia 1038 - 1227
Jin 1115 - 1234
Later Imperial China
Yuan 1279 - 1368
Ming 1368 - 1644
Qing 1644 - 1911
- Yongzhen Period: Famille-Rose porcelain, enamel
- Qianlong Period
- Republic of China (Mainland) 1911 - 1949
- Republic of China (in Taiwan) 1949 -
- People's Republic of China 1949 -
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