Wednesday, 29 June 2016

A Boddhisattva's Mount?

#Chinesesculpture #elephant #puxian #samantabhadra #chinesebuddhistart

This has been roughly dated to the #TANG dynasty. It's a rather odd object in that part of it seems to be missing and not merely broken off but to have had a whole detachable upper part missing.

Its an elephant and carved in a white stone and it is standing on a lotus which suggests an association with the #boddhisattva #Samantabhadra.

In many paintings of Samantabhadra also known as Fugen in Japan a pedestal can clearly been seen. So I'm thinking either the top part was broken off perhaps during an anti buddhist riot or there were a separate statue designed to revolve as part of some kind of ritual or because it was made in a separate material, jade, gold, or ivory?

Sunday, 26 June 2016


#dehua #guanyin #kuanyin #sculpture #ceramic #chinese

I know you can see dozens of variants on white robe kuanyin in the shops but there was a time these were technical innovations.

Here's an excellent example from the #AGNSW  Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney.

It works in the round the fine detail on the stool counterbalances the broader drapes and the buddhist symbols are a natural extension of the image.

simple elegant meaningful and good sculpture 

the sculptors who created the first white robe dehua kuanyins had a special genius that often goes unpraised due to the mass production of copies

Monday, 20 June 2016

Turtle Sculpture / Vessel

#Turtle #chinese ceramics #chinesesculpture

The site I found this on did not give an exact date though the use of what could be porcelain or a white stoneware clay and a clear or very light celadon glaze suggest TANG at the earliest to me ?

The combination of carved slabs and possibly two thrown bowls joined lead to an overall effect as much sculptural as ceramic and the simple clear lines remind me a lot of larger WEI dynasty sculptures.

I did state in an earlier post I'ld try to find images of unusual images that are not text book examples. Enjoy

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A HAN Ceramic Tile


#chinese #ceramic #tile #dragon #AGNSW #asianart

This is one of my favorite objects in the Art Gallery of NSW Asiann collection.

It's small and rough but yet striking and a bit of a mystery.

Is that an angle or a man wearing a cape. Is he dancing taming or fighting with the dragon. Is he a warrior or a shaman or a spirit?

As for the dragon notice how even in this early depiction it has a flexible body and some kind of head crest.

Despite its gray coloring this tile always catches my eye when I visit the Asian art room! It tends to be rotated in and out of storage due to its small size.

I love the composition too!

The next few posts will focus on Chinese sculpture in various mediums.

Friday, 10 June 2016


#diao #hanzi #sculpture #chinese #kanji

Copyright Julie Vaux 2016

I noticed while researching this Chinese dictionaries databases and lexicons print or we preferred the character on the left whereas other dialects and languages preferred the right hand version which doesnt include the meaning of raptor bird though the use of three strokes doesnt remind me of the marks made by a chisel!

If you've ever see how raptor birds stab and tear at meat you'll understand while this word has a second meaning and usage. Next week more sculpture!

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Sunday, 5 June 2016


#rhino #unihan #hanzi #asian languages 

yes I have not forgotten I said I would post about Chinese sculpture 1

Regard this as a footnote to the previous post!

I'm also experimenting with a new card format!

Note how the ideogram refers to rhinos as a browser / grazer and the top part of the character while not being the character for nose reminds one of a rhino's most dominant feature the nose horn which is what rhinoceros literally is in Greek!

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Western Han Rhino Sculpture / Vessel

Why is this #Chinese #sculpture Important?

Its also a #bronze #vessel #westernhandynasty a #ZUN and an "object d'art" and despite the inlaid ornament is a fairly accurate depiction of a #rhino !

There seems to have a trend in this era for vessels and small sculptures shaped like tigers dragons rhinos and elephants with the animals being depicted with varying degrees of either realism or stylization. 

The disturbing thing about this is that it suggests that either elephants and rhinos were still common in parts of China where they are extinct now or that these animals were used as subjects because they were becoming suddenly increasingly rare outside of remote forests or private wildlife preserves / hunting parks ?

Apart from the environmental history aspect its a magnificent example of how the Chinese created objects that can be defined as functional sculptures or vessels with sculptural values. Many of the best Chinese sculptures are small to medium sized objects and vessels in jade wood clay lacquer or bronze less so in larger stone though. Although the Chinese could carve and shape jade boulders large sculptures in the round in stone vary considerably in quality. 

It is a lovely piece of art though however you define or describe it and whatever its story is ?!