Chinese educational resource box



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CHINESE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE BOX
ED.1970.175 a,b Folding fan of cut-out sandlewood ribs. If you gently fan yourself

with this, you can smell the sandalwood which was a favorite incense material for

the Chinese. However, it did not grow in China, but on islands in then Pacific and

Indian Oceans. The Chinese had to go long distances to trade for this special

material.

ED.1970.196

Scroll picture of Chu Kuo-liang, famous warrior and statesman of the 3 Kingdoms

era (220-250 A.D.). The inscription on the scroll reads: “Leaving the city, I

strolled beyond the gates. There in the mist, I saw 3 tablets. Asking I ascertained that one of them was that of Chu (Kuo-liang). I recalled him and mused with thoughts of his valor and outstanding service to the state. Truly here was the first man of his time.”

ED.1971.256

Five-clawed dragon with a flaming pearl in couched gold thread on blue silk. This

was probably made to be a sleeve band. By law, dragon designs with 5 claws

were restricted for use by only the emperor and his closest kin, but in practice

many people wanted the prestige of this design and there were many ‘fakes’.

(13 pedals chrysanthemum in Japan meant the same thing. But they never violated this rule because there were repercussions, death.)

ED.1972.365

This small piece of embroidery expresses a wish for long life to the wearer as

both the bat and the fungi pattern are symbolic of long life. The hand embroidery

on this piece uses a stitch called the Peking or Beijing knot, sometimes called the

forbidden stitch (an old “urban legend” has it that the first reformer/prime

minister Sun Yat-Sen forbid it’s use as it caused early blindness to the people who

stitched it). Small embroidered pieces like these were sold in urban stores to

women for applying to family clothing and household articles.

ED.1972.526

Fragment of an embroidered sleeve band with seed stitch and satin stitch floral

patterns with butterflies outlined with couched gold thread.

ED.1973.708

Panel from a Manchu woman’s skirt. Peach-colored flowers on a beige brocade

silk background in satin and seed stitch with some gold couching. Woven floral

ribbon border and the outermost edge of blue and white satin stitch floral embroidery. This type of garment was common around 1900.

ED.1976.1109

Ornamental silk tassels wrapped with metallic thread and attached with ornamental knotwork to a stuffed and embroidered flower basket shape for hanging. Decorations such as these were often hung in bridal chambers to ensure good luck. They could be used in any area of a house to bring prosperity, health, etc. (depending on the designs used).

ED.1976.1317 c

Two fragments of embroidery with Beijing knot and couched metal thread on a

paper backing. (This was typical of commercial embroidery piecework in the late

Ch’ing dynasty- pre-made patterns like this could be purchased and applied to

garments, etc. by the buyer.) It is like a miniature French knot, they outlawed it, because it made people go blind.

ED.1978.23.110

Rectangular textile wall hanging of a Chinese landscape in petite point stitch on

leno-weave silk gauze. This piece is close to 100 years old.

ED.1980.5.6

Scroll type poster of China’s history of foreign influence from 150 B.C. to 1925

ED.1984.6.61 a,b

Embroidered sleeve bands for a woman’s tunic. These use the famous “forbidden

knot” stitch, also known as the Beijing knot, a type of raised embroidery stitch

which was so hard on the workers’ eyes it caused early blindness and it is said

that it was forbidden to use after modern reformists took over the government in

1914.


ED.1988.25.1

Modern reproduction of a painted hand scroll by the Italian Castiglioni who

visited the imperial Chinese court and stayed several years at the emperor’s

request to paint portraits and landscapes in the European style. A hand scroll is a

type of “book”- as you slowly unroll the scroll from right to left, the scenes unfold

like a moving story.

ED.1989.11.1

Block printed scroll of elderly scholar with a cane strolling among rocks and

bamboo. (Scholars were highly respected and still are. Eyes were downcast in the presence of one of superior status, like teachers. So students didn’t look teachers in the eyes. Artists and scholars were considered pretty much the same thing, also held in very high regard. Painting was considered very high art because you had to be educated to know the brush strokes.)

ED.1989.12.7

A set of miniature Chinese musical instruments. Instruments such as these are

used to accompany the Chinese opera, shadow puppet plays and traditional forms

of Chinese dance. Famous artists such as classical cello player Yo-yo Ma

continue to find new expressions for these instruments in contemporary ensemble

pieces such as his series of “Silk Road” recordings.

ED.1991.25.2 a-c Three round cut-out foil and colored paper decorations for use during

festivals. These could be used to decorate presents or pasted onto window panes

in the house for a festive ornament. These are from the early 20th century.

ED.1991.25.4 a-d Four cut-out paper and foil decorations showing a man with flowers.

These were used as festival decorations around the house and are from the early

20th century.

ED.1994.45.1

Cloth-wrapped wire dolls with stuffed fabric, painted heads representing a

Chinese family of the 1930s. Includes a man, woman, girl and 2 boy dolls.

ED.1996.D.9

Boy doll from the 1930s with painted composition head and stuffed cloth

body.

ED.1998.5.14



This is a miniature version of the type of raincoats worn by the peasant farmers in

China. It is made by twining together long plant fibers. Some coats are also made

of rice straw (though this one is not). When worn with a big bamboo hat, a person

can stay nice and dry.

ED.2000.14.2

Carved brown stone ‘fu’ dog, also known as a ‘Chinese lion’. This one is male as

it has a ball under its paw. (The females are depicted with pups playing around

their feet. They didn’t really look like lions because they hadn’t seen one They were considered guardians of Buddhist law.)

ED.2000.25.2

Man’s skullcap of black satin. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, men’s heads

were often shaved in the front with a large braid hanging down the back. The

skull cap was a common clothing accessory for urban men.

ED.2002.1.2

Silk skirt embroidered in stain stitch. This was originally a traditional Mandarin

woman’s skirt which was 2 separate, apron-like pieces hitched only at the waist. It

has been altered at some time in its history into a more contemporary ‘Western

European-style’ skirt, probably by the last owner.

ED.2004.1.1

Two joined Mandarin rank badges with phoenix designs indicating a civil official.

ED.2004.1.2

Mandarin rank badge with phoenix design and coral bead accents.

ED.2004.1.3

Two Mandarin rank badges that have been sewn together- the split one for the

front opening of the robe has been divided and sewn to either side of the badge for

the back of the robe. Phoenix bird indicates a civil official at the court.

ED.2004.1.4 a,b

Mandarin rank badges, also called “Mandarin squares”, these were worn on the

front and back of robes to indicate your position at the emperor’s court. Those

with birds indicate civil officials, those with animals are military officers. This

pair have a phoenix, a mythical bird indicating a civil official would have worn

them.

ED.2004.1.12 a-h



Miscellaneous shadow puppet parts of cut and painted leather:

  1. headless body

(b,c) articulated arms

(d-g) swords

(h) fan on stick

ED.2004.3.113 a,b

Shoes for a woman with bound feet. These would have been made and

embroidered in the home. (The story goes that they start binding your feet at 4 years old as it was considered beautiful for women to have small feet. 1914 was the latest it was done. Screaming that went on all night long during the binding process disturbed Sun Yat-sen, he was the brother to sisters who had experienced it, so he outlawed it. Big toe was left out and other toes were curled under and only the toes went into the shoes. Usually women were seated. Sociologists say it also kept women from running away when they were married off to a man they didn’t want to live with. Foot binding was outlawed after the 1914 reforms of

Sun Yat-sen and the fall of the Manchu (Ch’ing) dynasty.

ED.2004.3.114

Child’s embroidered silk jacket with drawstring cuffs.

ED.2004.21.1 a-c

Porcelain teacup (traditional Chinese teacups are without handles) and saucer with

lid (to keep the tea warm) painted with human figures and Chinese characters.

This is a commercially painted piece.

ED.2005.1.43 a-j

Cut paper decorations used for Chinese New Year’s celebration decorations.

These were usually hung in windows for good luck and were replaced each year.

(a-h) are brown paper tigers- a wish for strength

(i,j) rectangular cut-outs for Chinese New Year’s decorations

ED.2005.1.73 a,b

Peasant woman’s work outfit (top-(a) and pants (b)) of blue and black cotton.

ED.2005.1.108

A square ivory “blank” to be used to carve a “chop” or personal seal. Seals were

used to mark ownership of scrolls and other objects and carried the owners name

in stylized calligraphic designs fitted to the square shape. They were usually

pressed into red vermillion clay to “ink” them and them pressed onto the paper to

leave a red mark with the “chop”.

ED.2005.1.113

String of Buddhist prayer beads made of plastic. Similar in function to a Catholic

Christian rosary, this was an aid to help count the number and type of prayers

said.


ED.2005.1.126 a-c

Parts of a marionette-style puppet:



  1. head of man with long hair and beard made of carved & painted wood

  2. outfit of pink and gold metallic fabric

  3. outfit of red and silver metallic fabric

ED.2005.1.133

This is a Buddhist themed woodblock print from Tibet in the high Himalaya

mountains. It formerly was an independent country and is now part of the

Republic of China.

ED.2005.1.137

Cut paper design of a rooster eating a centipede. Used for Chinese New Year

decorations, often hung in windows.

ED.2005.1.141 Fabric collage picture of a young woman, probably a professional

entertainer, playing a transverse flute.

ED.2005.1.143

Wood block print on paper of traditional Chinese building. The red “chop” mark

printed on this belonged to Mr. Richard Petterson, for whom the museum is

named and indicates that this print once belonged to him.

ED.2005.1.165

Wood block print of the kitchen god used for Chinese New Year’s decorations.

(The print of the kitchen god and his companions from the previous year would be

burnt and a new one mounted on a wall in the kitchen at New Year’s time.)

ED.2005.1.201

Model of a lion dancer (actually 2 persons would be inside the costume) with

head and tail mounted on springs to wiggle when moved. This is made of painted

wood and papier maché with yarn for the lion’s hair and mane.

ED.2005.1.230 a-i

Paper and fabric figures of the Daoist immortals (plus one more character) in

traditional Ching dynasty clothes:



  1. Lan Caihe with peaches of immortality

  2. He Xiangu with lotus pod symbolizing purity

  3. Han Xiangzi with flute

  4. Zhang Guolao with bamboo tube and rods

  5. Elderly man with ruyi scepter signifying “as you wish”

  6. Lu Dongbin with sword

  7. Cao Guojiu with castanets

  8. Zhongli Quan with fan

  9. Li Tieguai with double gourd and crutch

ED.2005.1.231 a-g

Papier maché and folded paper stick puppets

ED.2005.1.270

Landscape print on fabric.

ED.2005.1.279

Scroll of blossoming plum branch with a poem printed on fabric. Because the

plum tree often was the first to bloom in the Spring and will even bloom with

snow on the ground, this design is often used symbolically to indicate triumph

over adversity.

ED.2005.1.301

Folding fan (also known as a ‘brisé’ fan) of carved sandalwood. Sandalwood

sawdust was often used to make incense sticks because of its pleasing smell. If

you fan yourself with a fan made of sandalwood, you can smell a faint hint of that

incense smell.

ED.2005.1.380

Fragment of embroidery almost entirely worked in Beijing knot stitch, also known

as the “forbidden stitch” because it caused early blindness for those who worked

it and was forbidden by the reformist government of Sun Yat-sen in 1914. This

piece was worked on a separate backing stiffened with paper and was meant to be

sold and applied separately to a garment or other object.

ED.2005.1.381

Cocoon of a domesticated silk worm. If you shake it, you can hear the rattle of the

dried up caterpillar inside. To obtain silk filaments from this, it would be soaked

in hot water to loosen the gummy sericin holding the filaments together and then

unraveled into thread. (There is a folk tale about a Chinese princess was being sent off to central Asia to marry a ruler there. She was upset sense that they had

no silk, so she concealed some cocoons in her hair, so that silk fabric could be

made there. Another one tale was about a cocoon that fell into a cup full of hot

tea. The princess saw it unravel and thought it would make a good textile.)

ED.2005.1.385

Small cloisonné vase made of enameled copper. The “cloisons” or copper wire

inlay, restricts the flow of the enamel colors when the piece is fired, thus creating

the pattern. Objects as large as vases 6 feet tall are made in this technique.

ED.2005.1.387 The body to a marionette puppet wearing an embroidered silk robe with

rabbit fur trim. Puppet plays of all kinds were popular entertainments for the

Chinese. This puppet has a metal body core with arms and legs of carved and

painted wood.

ED.2005.1.388 a-c Three separate heads of painted ceramic for use on marionette style

puppets. One of the heads is of a monkey, a frequent character in favorite Chinese

legends. It is possible to use these on the previously numbered marionette body.

Having a removable head was very popular in Chinese puppetry as the plot often

required one of the characters to have his head chopped off!

ED.2005.1.419

Linen hand towel with a scene of a traditional wedding procession in cross-stitch

embroidery at one end. The bride is carried hidden from view in the closed sedan

chair or palanquin, preceded by banner carriers, to the house of the groom. This

was made in a mission in south China for sale to westerners as the native Chinese

did not use this sort of item in the home.

ED.2005.2.11

Stick puppet of man riding a lion (the man’s head is broken off).

ED.2005.2.28

Female shadow puppet with phoenix headdress and platform shoes made of cut

and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.30

Woman with a double bun hairdo, a shadow puppet of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.34

Woman with phoenix headdress, long hair and wide pants, a shadow puppet of cut

and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.36

Shadow puppet of a man with long beard made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.41 a,b

Identical puppets of male banner-carriers (Manchu warriors) with pointed helmets

made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.42

Shadow puppet of man in skullcap blowing a horn made of cut and painted

leather.

ED.2005.2.43

Shadow puppet of a dragon made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.44

Shadow puppet (modern copy in mylar painted with marking pens) of a seated

man in traditional clothes (Possibly made by Mr. Petterson, for whom the

museum is named as he was a big fan of Chinese shadow puppet plays and

probably was entertained by many as a child growing up in China of the early 20th

century.)

ED.2005.2.45 a,b

Shadow puppets of male warriors (a) is a Manchu banner carrier and (b) has a

spiked headdress. These are modern copies in mylar and marking pen. (Possibly

made by Mr. Petterson, for whom the museum is named as he was a big fan of

Chinese shadow puppet plays and probably was entertained by many as a child

growing up in China of the early 20th century.)

ED.2005.2.46 a,b

Modern copies of traditional Chinese female character shadow puppets made of

mylar plastic and using marking pens for coloration. (Possibly made by Mr.

Petterson, for whom the museum is named as he was a big fan of Chinese shadow

puppet plays and probably was entertained by many as a child growing up in

China of the early 20th century.)

ED.2005.2.47 a-c

More banner carrying male warrior shadow puppets made of mylar plastic and

using marking pens for coloration. (Possibly made by Mr. Petterson, for whom

the museum is named as he was a big fan of Chinese shadow puppet plays and

probably was entertained by many as a child growing up in China of the early 20th

century.)

ED.2005.2.48

Shadow puppet of a man riding a fu dog (Chinese lion, see above #ED.2000.14.2)

surrounded by a circle of flame. His arms are fashioned like a “whirligig” with 3

arms holding swords—as they spin they give the illusion of fierce battle fighting.

This a modern copy made of mylar plastic and using marking pens for coloration.

(Possibly made by Mr. Petterson, for whom the museum is named as he was a big

fan of Chinese shadow puppet plays and probably was entertained by many as a

child growing up in China of the early 20th century.)

ED.2005.2.49

Shadow puppet of a banner carrier (Manchu warrior) made of cut and painted

leather.

ED.2005.2.53 a-c

Partially painted and unpainted cut leather shadow puppets. (a and b are males

with mylar heads and c is a headless body)

ED.2005.2.55 a-l

Twelve assorted parts for traditional shadow puppets made of cut and painted

leather.


ED2005.2.56 a,b

Two male heads for shadow puppets made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.61 a-c

Three headless shadow puppets of cut and painted leather. (a) has wings on back

and leg while (b) has flags at his back indicating a military man. (c) has clothes

decorated in a brick pattern.

ED.2005.2.62 a,b


  1. partially painted female shadow puppet made of leather

  2. floral background or set piece for a traditional shadow puppet play

ED.2005.2.68 a-f

Body parts for a male shadow puppet made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.69 a-e

Miscellaneous body parts for shadow puppets made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.70 a-o

Miscellaneous arms for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.71 a-k

A complete male puppet (disarticulated) of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.72 a-u

Miscellaneous sleeves for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.73 a-d

Four torsos for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.74 a,b


  1. head and (B) torso with limbs but no hands for shadow puppets of cut and

painted leather.

ED.2005.2.75 a-l

Twelve assorted lower legs for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.76 a-e

Five assorted lower torsos for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather.

ED,2005.2.77 a-g

Seven assorted female heads for shadow puppets (backed with mylar to

strengthen)

ED.32005.2.79 a-g

Miscellaneous accessories for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.80 a-e

Five assorted men’s heads for shadow puppets of cut and painted leather backed

with mylar to strengthen.

ED.2005.2.85

Shadow puppet of a woman in traditional dress riding a horse made of

mylar plastic and using marking pens for coloration. (Possibly made by Mr.

Petterson, for whom the museum is named as he was a big fan of Chinese shadow

puppet plays and probably was entertained by many as a child growing up in

China of the early 20th century.)

ED.2005.2.86 a,b

Two male shadow puppet characters:


  1. man with skullcap and no arms

  2. man in red robe with pompadour hairstyle.

ED.2005.2.114 a,b

Shadow puppets of (a) man with headdress and (b) woman with bound feet (hands

damaged) made of cut and painted leather.

ED.2005.2.115

Hand inked poster by Richard Petterson of Chinese dynasty dates (abbreviated).

ED.2005.3.19 b

UNICEF cardstock figure of a young boy in a Red Guard school uniform.

ED.2005.35.3

Manchu woman’s vest with lute-shaped side-front closure. This is a modern copy

of an older style of vest worn during the last dynasty in China. It was usually

worn over a much longer robe.

ED.2005.44.1

Embroidered top for a woman’s slipper with flowers in stem and satin stitch on a

black velvet background. This would have been worn by a woman with normal

sized feet, rather than someone with bound feet. (This is for a normal sized slipper. Manchu had normal sized feet, the Han had bound feet.)

ED.2005.58.1

Tourist map of Taiwan printed on velvet-like background and mounted in the

form of a scroll.

ED.2006.1.87

Infant’s slipper in the shape of a tiger to magically impart the attributes of that

animal to the child (i.e. bravery, strength) and to ward off evil spirits that might

try and harm the child. Hand embroidered silk, perhaps made by a loving relative,

this slipper is about the same length as a shoe for an adult woman with bound feet

(see #2004.3.113 a,b).

ED.2006.1.171

Laminated page from the New York Times Magazine dated Sept. 2, 1945

showing how to read and write 13 simple characters (words) in Chinese.

ED.2006.1.231

Commercially printed reproduction of a Ch’ing (Qing) dynasty female ancestor

portrait. The woman represented may have been intended to look like an empress

as she wears a phoenix crown and robe and sits on a tiger skin robe covered chair. Ancestor portraits were usually kept on the family altar or shrine along with flower arrangements and incense burners and offerings of fruit. Deceased ancestors retained an interest in the affairs of their living family members and on several occasions during the year, prayers were made to them.

ED.2006.9.45 A laminated map of China from the National Geographic Society.

ED.2006.35.16

Model of an old-fashioned flat iron for pressing clothes and other textile items. In

a real one, hot coals would be put in the dish and using the handle, the person

pressing the clothes would quickly pass the iron over them to avoid scorching.

The fact that this one is decorated all over with enamel (which could crack or melt

if coals were actually put inside) and impressed with a mark on the bottom, as

well as having a small “stem” hanging down from the handle, all indicate that this

one is for “show” not use. It is also a little bit smaller than actual irons in the

museum’s collections.

ED.2006.35.21 A small square metal dish with enamel on copper (traditionally called

Canton enamel work) in a landscape pattern showing a woman walking along side

a river. The Chinese are famous for their enameled metal work which also

includes cloisonné in which the enamel colors are bordered by metal wires called

“cloisons”. If you look carefully at this piece, you’ll see that there are no cloisons

used in this one.

ED.2006.36.4 This is a small reproduction of a Tang Dynasty horse figurine. During the

Tang Dynasty (618-906 A.D.), ceramic figures such as these were placed in

tombs to accompany the deceased and be used in the afterlife. Besides practical

transportation, such as a horse figure, figurines of dancers and servants were also

placed in the tombs.

ED.2006.39.3 A young woman’s blouse of royal blue silk with hand embroidered

scenes in silk satin stitch. The blouse has a high collar called a “mandarin collar”

and knotted silk tube closures called “frogs”. This style is typical of the mid to

late 1900s.

ED.2007.1.67 a-d Set of 4 commercially printed travel posters showing the Great Wall

of China throughout the 4 seasons of the year. The wall was begun by one of the

first Han dynasty (220 BC – 212 AD) emperors to unite China and was intended

to keep marauding invaders from the steppes to the north of China from harassing

the villagers in the northern border areas. It is one of the few man-made structures

on planet earth that can be viewed from space without the aid of a telescope!

ED.2007.1.131 A small brochure with an explanation of the Chinese Zodiac cycles and

animals published by the Los Angeles County Public Library.

ED.2007.10.14 A cut-out paper and foil Chinese dragon. Unlike in European mythology

where dragons were regarded as evil, in China they are considered a good,

auspicious symbol of royalty and rain.

ED.2007.10.16 Shoulder bag made of indigo dyed cotton with a pattern of stylized birds

on it made by printing a resist of wax or starch before dyeing. Indigo is a plant

dye that actually increases the strength of cotton fabric and for centuries was the

most important source for making the color blue. This bag was purchased by the

founder of the Petterson museum on a trip to China in the 1980s in a place called

Kunming. This type of design and technique is typical of minority tribes living in

the south and west of China. There are over 50 minority tribes that live in China,

some with several million members.

ED.2007.24.2 A Han Chinese man’s skull cap with an ornamental knot and tassel on top

of the crown. The Han Chinese are the majority people in China, but during the

last dynasty, the Ching, a minority people called the Manchu were in control of

the government. The Han wore different clothing than the Manchu and this cap is

typical of that time.

ED.2007.30.1 a-e A set of 5 paper cutouts with scenes of roosters- one of the 12 animals

of the Chinese zodiac. This sort of paper decoration would be used to adorn

windows in the home during the year of the rooster in the Chinese year system.

ED.2007.42.1 Laminated poster explaining the Chinese system of writing by detailing

the 214 “index characters” of the Kang Hsi dictionary.

ED.2007.42.3 Laminated poster showing the silhouettes and shapes of traditional

Chinese bronze objects.

ED.2007.42.4 Laminated poster showing the “Essential Strokes” of the Chinese writing

system.

ED.2007.42.6 Laminated poster showing different styles of Chinese dragons.

ED.2009.21.25 A man’s long informal robe closed at the sides with simple “frogs” or

knotted and looped fastenings. It has a stand-up collar called a mandarin collar

after the upper class scholars and businessmen who traditionally wore this type of

robe up until the early 1900s. A deep blue or gray was the favored color of these.

On this particular one (made of rayon damask fabric with scattered

chrysanthemum flowers in the pattern), there is a second, false collar of white

fabric that barely shows over the main collar and is meant to give the impression

of a full, white under-robe which would have been only slightly shorter than the

outer one. The sleeves are extra long and have to be folded back over the hands

when working or writing- but can be pulled over the hands when needed such as

for a traditional greeting where the left hand is inserted into the right sleeve and

vice versa when the arms are bent in front of the body.

ED.2009.25.6 This is a headdress for a character from the Chinese opera. This would

have been worn by the “hero” or “romantic male lead” as they call this kind of

roll in the theater. There are many styles of Chinese opera, the most famous

perhaps is the style from the capital of Beijing. As in European opera, most of the

dialog is sung rather than spoken. Unlike European operas however, the actors are

often also acrobats and many famous martial arts movie stars like Jackie Chan

and Sammo Hung were students of the Chinese opera as children.

ED.2009.35.2 This is a ceramic figure of an elderly man in a large bamboo shade hat.

He is a rural peasant farmer, not a sophisticated urban gentleman.

ED.2010.1.44 We have included this rubber stamp of an imperial Chinese 5-claw

dragon just for fun. Though we don’t know if it was made in China, the design is

very typical of the imperial dragons found on items belonging to the Chinese

emperors and their families. Dragons are considered very good luck and are often

used as symbols of the emperor and imperial authority. They are also said to bring

the rain and thunderstorms. In olden times, only the emperor could give

permission to use a dragon with five toes in the design, everyone else had to have

fewer toes on their dragons or risk the emperor’s displeasure!

ED.2010.6.7 This is a small landscape scene painted on silk of a man on horseback

riding by a river with a bridge, house and a thatched pavilion nearby. Traditional

Chinese landscape paintings often showed such idealistic scenes of a tranquil

countryside with scholarly gentlemen sitting in the pavilions contemplating the

view or, as shown here, riding through the scene. These scenes were usually

painted by gentlemen scholars, not professional artists as painting and the Chinese

style of calligraphic “writing” are both done with a brush and ink.

ED.2010.33.10 This sleeveless quilted vest is made up of patchwork panels with

poisonous insects on the back and was made for sale to tourists. The images of

biting and stinging bugs act as a protective charm for the person wearing them

and are thought to ward off bites by these insects. There are also pandas and birds

embroidered on the vest which are very popular animals in China—in fact, pandas

are synonymous with China, the only place where they naturally occur outside

zoos.

ED.2012.2.2 This is a school child’s lunch box made of tin. It was used in China in the



late 1980s-early 1990s by an American girl whose parents were staying in China.

In some ways it is similar to American school lunch boxes- it is made of sheet

metal and is uninsulated. Unlike the ones used in this country by school children,

it has no carrying handle and no decoration from popular television and movie

shows.

ED.2012.2.15 a-f This is a contemporary game set from China, similar to badminton,



but using no net. The goal is to “catch” one of the birdies by its suction cups so

that it sticks to the paddle. The birdie is batted back and forth until one of the

players is able to do this and thus score a point. This game was donated by an

American family who lived for a year in China and their young daughter played

this outdoors with Chinese children in the local neighborhood.

ED.2012.5.1 a,b This carved ivory knick knack was a very popular decorative item in

the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s main purpose was to show off the skill of the

ivory carvers who made them. If you look closely at the “ball” on its stand of

elephants with upraised trunks, you will see that there are actually at least 3 layers

of balls enclosed within the main one. They are all freely rotating inside the larger



one and the whole piece was carved in one.


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