Fruit and Carving Art - "Amazing"

I just can say "amazing", when i saw the fruits was carved like this (image). In Thailand, iy is an honoured tradition. It originated as a court art form but largely died out.

It was kept alive by a few house wives from the noble families and is now becoming popular again. Even if you do not progress to the finest stages of the craft you should not find the examples below beyond you.

Imagine how dramatically they will improve your presentation.
The image show fruit carving made from carrot - pappaya - gourd.

tobe continued..

Boomerangs - Aboriginal Traditional Hunting Weapon Handicraft

Boomerang a bent or curved piece of hard wood - usually mulga wood, used as a missile by the native Australians, the aboriginals. They were very profuse in the use of the boomerang, depending on this for capturing wild animals for food.
One form of the boomerang can be thrown to return to the thrower.

Hunting boomerangs, much larger in size, were crafted out of one original root or branch and were specifically used for hunting for food. Traditional Boomerangs for ritual use were usually much smaller in size and handsomely decorated.

Credited with inventing the boomerang, many Aboriginal groups used this tool mainly for hunting but also in religious ceremonies. The weapon can easily kill a small animal or knock down a larger one.
Hunters all over the world have used spears but the 'woomera', a type of spear thrower, is a unique Aboriginal invention.

A boomerang must be held vertically and thrown with spin. They can travel distances up to 200m. Boomerangs used for hunting are heavy sticks with a slight curve, which means they can be aimed and thrown in a straight line at high speed. These are termed non-returning boomerangs. The spinning motion of the boomerang gives it stability as it flies. The more familiar returning boomerang is light in weight and has a more curved shape, which causes it to fly back to the thrower.

The way that boomerangs work is very complex. Part of the explanation is that boomerangs are flatter on the lower side and more curved on top in a shape called an aerofoil. When a boomerang is in flight, the shape of the boomerang wing and its angle relative to the flightpath (angle of attack) deflects air downward and creates an upward force called lift.

Why do bent boomerangs come back? When a curved boomerang spins in flight, the two wings experience different amounts of lift. One wing always enters undisturbed air, while the other wing is faced with air that has been churned up by the first wing, causing less lift. Also, as the boomerang spins, one wing moves in the direction of the boomerang's flight and has more lift than the other wing which is spinning back. The boomerang tends to flip over but the spinning motion changes this flipping over action into the curved path of the returning boomerang.

Nok Sculpture (Africa) as Oldest Sculptures in Black Africa

The Nok culture originated in a valley in West Africa between the Niger and the Benve Rivers about five or more centuries before Christ. They have produced the oldest sculptures in black Africa. Although the culture died out around 200 AD, they continue to influence other West African cultures and art traditions.

Nok sculptures were made of terra cotta or fired clay. Many of the sculptures found are only of heads. It is possible that these heads were once on full figures, presumably destroyed by erosion. These sculptures were often life size, possibly resembling a worshipped individual. The terra cotta or earthenware sizes range from one inch to life size. The human sculptures are stylized, while animal figures are naturalistic; showing that the producers of these magnificent pieces took pride in their work by taking their time.

As with this head figure, many of the Nok culture's heads are elongated. This head starts from an ornament on the top to just beneath the chin. The lips of the mouth are full, and when together, resemble an oval. There is a small, oval hole in the center of the mouth. Not far above the mouth is a nose in the shape of a triangle. The eyes are large, up-side-down triangles with a circular hole in the center of each. Above the eyes are long, thin, and arched eyebrows. This figure has an extremely long forehead with an ornament on the top. There are no visible lines to represent hair, nor are there any forms to resemble a head ornament such as a hat or crown.

Scholars do not know what function these sculptures had in the Nok society. Based on what we know, that African art has traditionally had a socially-useful function, we are able to form an hypothesis on their uses. It is known that they worshipped ancestors and had many gods. The elaborately detailed figures could represent a god, or a highly prized ancestor, while plain figures could represent a lesser individual; showing social status.

Traditional Japanese Footwear

Traditional Japanese footwear is not seen that often these days as is usually only worn with other traditional clothing.

Zori are sandals made from rice straw or lacquered wood and are worn with a kimono for formal occasions.

Geta are raised wooden clogs that are worn with the informal yukata. Geta are most often seen these days on the feet of sumo wrestlers. You will most likely hear them before you see them as they make a distinctive clacking noise as the wearer walks.

This is sometimes mentioned as one of the sounds that older Japanese miss most in modern life. You may see the occasional buddhist monk wearing wearing waraji, sandals made from straw rope that in the past were the standard footwear of the common people. All three designs allow for free circulation of air around the feet, a feature that probably came about because of Japan's humid climate.

As in many other areas of life, the fashion of the early Japanese nobility was greatly influenced by Chinese culture and so they wore shoes or boots. Geta and zori originated in the Heian Period (794-1192) a time which saw the evolution of a more "native" culture. Geta are made from a flat piece of wood on two slats (called ha, or teeth) that raise the sole part 4-5cm off the ground. his is enough to keep a kimono from getting dirty, though ashida (rain shoes) have slats about 10cm high. Some sushi chefs even wear geta with ha that are up to 17cm high. These "platform" shoes were reincarnated in a brief late-90s fashion trend, where young girls could be seen staggering around on atsuzoku (thick heels).

Both geta and zori are held on the feet by a hanao (thong), which is usually black for men and red for women. Zori are usually worn with white, split-toe cotton socks called tabi. Construction workers, who can be seen in brightly colored overalls with very baggy trousers, often wear jika tabi, heavy cotton tabi "shoes" with rubber soles.

While traditional Japanese dress has been largely replaced with western clothing, some of its customs still survive intact. The most common is the practice of removing one's shoes when entering someone's home. The custom is a combination of cleanliness and the fact that traditional flooring is made from tatami, straw matting that is easily damaged by footwear. There is a story of the first American consul to Japan, Townsend Harris getting off to a bad start with his hosts by walking straight into the shogun's presence in Edo Castle without removing his shoes.

While geta have become pretty rare, the shoe cupboard in every home's genkan (entrance hallway) is still called a getabako (geta box). When you enter the genkan, you must remove your shoes and the formal etiquette is to leave them neatly aligned and to the side, facing inwards. The host turns them around and puts them in the center before you leave. Younger people tend not to worry about these finer details anymore. But when entering shrine or temple buildings and many Japanese-style restaurants, you will be expected to remove your shoes. Many restaurants and homes provide slippers for guests, though these should be removed when entering a room with tatami mat flooring. Also, there will be a separate pair of slippers to be changed into in the toilet.

The Japanese have a very deep-rooted though largely unspoken understanding of the difference between spaces. The genkan is a kind of border post post between the outside world and the inner sanctum of the home. Delivery men may quite casually step into your genkan but that's as far as they'll go without you inviting them in. There is almost always a step up into the home and the Japanese word for entering a home is literally to "step up". Even when entering your own home (uchi, meaning inside), the act of removing your shoes is symbolic of casting off the worries and troubles as well as the dirt of the outside world (soto). "Dosoku de agarikomu" (literally, go inside with soiled feet) is a metaphor for meddling thoughtlessly in someone else's affairs.

The Art of African Ethnic - Boa Mask Carve

The Boa ethnic group comprises 200,000 savanna-dwelling people living in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each village is headed by a chief from the most prestigious clan.

The Boa are mainly farmers and are in frequent contact with Mangbetu and Zande.
The Boa are known principally for their masks, believed to be used in war-related ceremonies, to enhance the warrior's courage or to celebrate victories.

These masks have set-apart, prominent, round ears, suggesting alertness, and are covered alternately with dark and light pigments. They have been described as belonging to warrior or secret associations and are considered to be war masks or disguises used in hunting although the precise function of Boa masks is not known.

The Boa carve statues with apotropaic functions. They also produce harps with human heads carved at the neck; sometimes the harp body is completely sculptured as a male or female figure.

Chinese Silk Painting

From sometime in the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.) and over a long period of time in ancient China, plain silk of various descriptions joined bamboo and wood slips as the material for writing or painting on. Silk had advantages over the slips in that it was much lighter and could be cut in desired shapes and sizes and folded, the better to be kept and carried.

But owing to its much greater cost, silk was never so popularly used as the slips. The most valuable find of ancient silk writings was made in 1973 from an ancient tomb known as the No.3 Han Tomb at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan Province. It is in the form of 30-odd pieces of silk, bearing more than 120,000 characters.

They consist largely of ancient works that had long been lost. For instance, Wuxingzhan describes the orbits of five planets (Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn) and gives the cycles of their alignment, all with a precision far more remarkable than similar works which appeared later. Also found were three maps drawn on silk, showing the topograpghy, the stationing of troops and the cities and towns of certain regions of China.
They are the earliest maps in China, and n the world as well, that have been made on the basis of field surveys.

Contrary to their modern counterparts, they show south on top and north at the bottom. The topographic map is at a scale of 1:180,000, and the troop distributton map at about 1:80,000/100,000. Their historical value may be easily imagined when one remembers that they are at least 2,100 years old.

Silk was considered in old China an exquisite material for writing on; some were pre-marked with lines in vermilion. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was the fashion to weave the lines into plain white silk to be used exclusively for writing.

Many artists of today have carried on the ancient practice of painting and writing on silk.

Masks in Chinese Culture

Masks in Chinese culture are part and parcel of the world culture of masks. Masks first appeared in China during the Shang and Zhou some 3,500 years ago as a major element in Chinese shamanism.

The worshipping of the god which drives away pestilence, the exorcising dances and operas, and many of the Shamanist rituals, cannot do without masks, Even today, masks are still being worn during religious rituals, weddings and funerals among nearly 40 ethnic peoples who inhabit some 20 provinces and autonomous regions. Masks are, indeed, vehicles of a wealth of historical and cultural information.

Chinese masks are generally made of wood, and worn either on one's face of head. Through colourfully painted images of people, ghosts, demons and celestial animals, they are purported to convey certain meanings. The Chinese masks fall into the following categories.

Exorcising Dancers' Masks. These masks, used at religious sacrigicial ceremonies among certain minority peoples, are designed to dispel ghosts and pestilence and ask gods for blessings.

Masks for Festive Occasions. Such masks are worn by people when they join exorcising dancers during festivals or memorial services. The purpose of such masks is to pray for long life and rich harvests and keep evil spirits at bay. In many places such gatherings have become a marry-making activity.

Masks for New Born Babies. These masks are used when members of society attend ceremonies marking the birth of a baby.

Masks for Keeping Houses Safe. These masks are developed on the basis of those worn by exorcising dancers and hung on important positions of a house to scare away evil spirits.

Masks for Theatrical Performances. In the theatre of many ethnic minorities, masks are an important means to portray the images and personality of the characters. Because of this they are of high cultural and artistic value.