Asian Tea Sets

In China and Japan, tea is more than something you serve to guests on chilly days, more than simply an accompaniment to an afternoon meal. You don’t just put on a teapot and grab random mugs out of your cabinet. Tea is a ritual, or a religious ceremony, reflecting the principles and practices of Zen […]

Japanese Kakemono Hanging Scrolls

Kakemono Hanging Scrolls A kakejiku or Kakemono is a Japanese scroll painting or calligraphy mounted with brocade fabric edges on a flexible backing, so that it can be rolled for storage. As opposed to makimono, which are meant to be unrolled laterally on a flat surface, a kakemono is intended to be displayed vertically as […]

Chinese and Japanese Scroll Paintings

Before the 20th century, the idea that a painting should be framed and hung permanently on wall was a completely foreign concept in Asian countries like China and Japan. Art hanging on the wall was transitory and meant to be rolled up and stored, changed to match the occasion or season or mark an honored […]

Noritake China and Dinnerware

When the precursor to Noritake Co., Limited was founded in 1904 in the village of Noritake outside Nagoya, Japan, the choice was not accidental. The land around Nagoya was rich with kaolin, the type of clay most favored by manufacturers of fine porcelain. Since one of the company’s goals was to produce Japan’s finest china, […]

Nippon Porcelain

Nippon porcelain refers to vases, teapots, wall plaques, humidors, and other ceramic objects stamped with the word Nippon on their bases. The practice began in 1891 in response to the U.S. McKinley Tariff Act, which forbade the import of items that weren’t “plainly marked, stamped, branded, or labeled in legible English words.” Nippon is the […]

Antique Chinese Snuff Bottles

It’s not clear how snuff, what we know as powdered tobacco, first made it to China in the early to mid-1600s. It may have arrived via traders from Portugal or Russia, or it could have been brought by invading Manchus. What we do know is that once the members of Imperial Court caught a whiff, […]

Chinese Ge ware – One of the Five Great Wares of the Song Dynasty

by Irv Graham Chinese Ge ware, along with Guan, Ru, Ding and Jun, comprise the ‘Five Great Wares of the Song Dynasty’. The problems of distinguishing the two crackled wares, Guan, and Ge, were discussed at length during a three-day conference held at the Shanghai Museum in 1992, and while no unanimity of opinion was […]

Vintage Chinese and Japanese Textiles

By Cherie Fehrman Chinese and Japanese embroideries are increasingly difficult to find Peking stitches (French knots) were used to create a beautiful composition of fruit, flowers, and bats on this 19th-century Chinese silk skirt. (Courtesy of Forgotten Luxury) Chinese embroidered textiles often cause gasps among Western needle workers because their beauty and the obvious skill […]