Tile trade Series

The Tile Trade series is based on my research into antique tiles found in places around Singapore and nearby. After discovering similar tiles on family property in Singapore, I've even more interested in the origins, styles and use of these beautiful reminders of the past. 

belgium posy

The 'baby sister' for the Wealth & Luck print, this sweetheart is currently in progress - ready soon! 

PRINT STORY
The design for this Japanese woodblock print was inspired by a heritage tile from Belgium. I recently found a number of unusual tiles in a temple that my Hokkien great-great grandfather helped to set up on Cantonment Road. It's nice to find a love of tiles on both my Peranakan and Hokkien sides! 


wealth & Luck

Tile Trade: Wealth & Luck is based on the story of Peranakan craftsmen sent to Japan to create relief wall tiles for local Chinese Peranakan customers in Singapore. These tiles feature fruit, flowers and animals considered auspicious in Chinese culture. Japanese woodblock printing was used to create this limited edition. Each artwork was printed by hand using hand-carved timber blocks, watercolour pigments, a bamboo baren and Japanese washi paper. Seven timber blocks were used in this print. 

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Tile Trade - Wealth & Luck is one of a series of Japanese woodblock prints inspired by early 20th century export tiles found in many Chinese Peranakan homes in Singapore. Custom-made to the eclectic taste of the Straits Chinese, these tiles made by manufacturers in Japan. Local tile experts in Singapore tell me that artists were sent to Japan, where they were commissioned to draw images of fruit, flowers and animals considered auspicious in Chinese culture.

Peonies 牡丹 (mudan) are often used to symbolise richness, happiness and success. Loquat 枇杷 (pipa), the yellow grape-like fruit featured, is considered lucky or a sign of good fortune as the fruit ripens in early spring. With my personal connections to Singapore and Japan, I found it fascinating to learn of this some 100-year-old story of cross-cultural customisation and collaboration. 


Print details

Title: 'Tile Trade: Wealth & Luck'

Edition: 20 limited variable edition prints

Medium: Japanese woodblock

Image size: 15 x 15cm

Paper size: 21w x 23 h cm 

Paper: Torinoko washi paper


TILE TRADE SERIES | Wealth & luck | print process

See the making of the print Wealth & Luck

INSPIRATION

An elegant reminder of bygone days can be found in many places around Singapore and beyond. Peranakan Chinese and wealthy residents were the major buyers of this useful and decorative architectural element.