Chinese Symbolism - Great Books To Read

Even wondered why toads and bats appear in Chinese culture and furniture? Maybe not? Then perhaps you've been a bit busy to notice that your favourite blue and white 'carp' bowl means ‘profitable’ and ‘powerful’! Yes, Chinese culture is full of animals both big and small - and they all mean something. See my three favourite books on learning about Chinese symbolism:

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Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

An absolute go-to book for everything related to imagery in Chinese art and culture. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Patricia on a number of occasions and her depth of knowledge is amazing. Learn more

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Origins of Chinese Auspicious Symbols

Handy A5 size book…yes you could carry this in your bag next time you’re hanging out in Chinatown or at the Peranakan Museum! Learn more

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Gateway to Peranakan Culture

Because Chinese Peranakan traditionally followed ancient practices for funerals and ancestral worship, you can see many symbols in their material culture. From crabs and fish on beaded slippers, to phoenixes and bats on their furniture…it’s a beautiful mix! Learn more

And if you find some other good books, don’t forget to let me know! Please place your finds in the comment box below!



Peranakan Peony Series - Now Available

I've very happy to present my Peranakan Peony limited edition series of prints! These original hand-made Japanese Woodblock print are in a variable edition of 50 - each print has been hand-coloured and completely original. 

Inspired by Peranakan Chinese batik sarong patterns, these one-of-a-kind prints are a beautiful fusion of cultures! Peonies are often used in Peranakan culture as a symbol of longevity, loyalty, happiness and eternal beauty. 

Using 400-year old traditional methods, I took two days to carve this print. I cut and dampened each piece of Japanese washi paper ahead of time in order for moisture to penetrate the fibres. Each block was hand-coloured using water-based pigments and nori rice paste glue before being printed with a hand-held bamboo disk barren. The prints were then dried under weights for a day to ensure they are completely flat. 

All prints in this variable edition of 50 feature unique combinations of colour and gradation. As a hand-pulled print, each will have its own unique state and variations are part of its hand-crafted quality.

Peranakan Peony EV 1250



Image size: 9 x 14 cm (3.5 x 5.5 inch)
Paper size: 13 x 18 cm (5.1 x 7 inch)
Paper: Torinoko Washi paper 

Please contact me for sales inquiries. 

Japanese Woodblock printing is extremely tactile, technical and painstaking medium - and it's been my favourite since l learnt it as a university student in Kyoto from Akira Kurosaki. It originates from China with Japanese artists refining the technique in the form of 'ukiyoe' prints in the late 17th century famous for intricate detail, vivid colours and delicate painterly effects. Japanese woodblock relies on the magic created between washi paper, wood grain and watercolour pigments!

Peranakan, a term meaning ‘locally born’ in Malay, has come to refer to the descendants of traders who intermarried with local women in Southeast Asia as early as the 14th century. A distinctive culture incorporating Chinese, Malay, Indian and European influences has resulted in vibrant and hybrid style of cooking, clothing and architecture.