Asian History and Culture
Asia is the birthplace of ancient and complex civilizations. Libraries full of well researched books attempt to bring an understanding to Western minds. The information on this page is at best only meant to tempt you to search deeper. Go to: Dragon, Chinese History, Chinese Zodiac or Lunar New Year Animal Signs, Textiles, Asian Culture, Feng Shui, Auspicious Decorative Symbols, Asian Home Decorating, Kilims and Flat Weave Reversible Rugs, Ikat, Sake, Foo Dogs
Animal signs are based on the Chinese Lunar New Year. To find your sign, just add 12 to your year of birth until you reach one of those listed. If you were born before the Chinese Lunar New Year, you'll need to subtract one year. Lunar New Year start dates and animal signs: 2016-8-Feb, Monday, Monkey; 2017-28-Jan, Saturday, Rooster; 2018-16-Feb, Friday, Dog; 2019-5-Feb, Tuesday, Pig; 2020-25-Jan, Saturday, Rat; 2021-12-Feb, Friday, Ox; 2022-1-Feb, Tuesday, Tiger; 2023-22-Jan, Sunday, Rabbit; 2024-10-Feb, Saturday, Dragon; 2025-29-Jan, Wednesday, Snake; 2026-17-Feb, Tuesday, Horse; 2027-6-Feb, Saturday, Goat, etc.
Chinese guardian lions, also known as foo dogs, are believed to have strong mythic protective powers. They traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials. They are always created in pairs, usually a male and a female with the male playing with a ball or orb and the female with a cub.
Auspicious symbols and homonyms were often incorporated in the decorative motifs of glazed porcelain. These pieces were often given as gifts for birthday or New Year's celebrations.
Feng Shui Makeover – With Color and Style
If you are interested in using the principles of Feng Shui to change your life, it may be time for a home makeover. Feng Shui is the Chinese art of placement and using tools of the Feng Shui trade can change how your home feels. In Feng Shui, the thought is flow of energy will affect the way you feel in a space. We are all made up of the same stuff energetically, and since it is all around, it will affect us. Often energy is moving too quickly or it is stuck and you may feel drained or stuck in the mud if chi is out of balance in a space. Balance and harmony is what good Feng Shui is all about so how do you go about achieving just the right energetic mix for your home?
When decorating your home with a Feng Shui eye, it takes part aesthetic taste and part common sense. Furniture should be good quality and the edges are best if rounded. If you think about a lot of points and sharp angles pointing at you all day that does not feel very good does it. Your furnishings do not have to appear as if you just came home from a trip to Hong Kong. However, having a few pieces of nice Asian furniture in the home is a very nice touch. Other good interior decorating pieces include temple or ginger jars. Art and accessories might include symbols such as the goldfish or peony blossom, as these call in wealth and luck. A great choice for additional softness and the use of the wood element include bamboo. Soft upholstery on sofas, chairs, pillows and more balance out sharp edges from wood. Painting a wall is an easy, inexpensive makeover for a room. Paint affirmations on the wall before a final coat with a new color. The “intention” of the affirmation will always be in the room supporting your goals. You do not have to see Feng Shui adjustments in order for them to work. Trust that they are serving you and forget them or make them a beautiful statement for the world to notice. It does not matter; Feng Shui works through intention, no matter what.
Take a cue from the outdoors when deciding on your interior design theme. What colors of flowers are in your backyard? A nice balance is created if the indoor interior colors are reflected back when you look out the window. If you have mostly yellow daffodils, think about featuring yellows inside your home too. If pink roses and peonies is more your taste, these are very feminine flowers and the interior of the home is well served if it reflects these colors. Picture one of the scenarios in your mind’s eye and see if that “feels” good when you visually walk into the entrance of your home. Speaking of the entrance, a front door and entry area is very important in Feng Shui. Metaphorically speaking, all of the opportunity presented to you and your family comes from the Universe and enters your space through the front door. It is common sense to have round soft shapes in the entry as well so the opportunity feels welcome to enter. Round rugs or rugs with round designs promote a well-balanced entry as the energy is flowing at a good pace. I like using scent at the entrance too. Natural essential oils hold energy and scientifically promote either relaxation or rejuvenation. Choose from the many essential oils on the market and blend a unique scent for you and your guests to enjoy. Have a diffuser going at the front door and welcome all who enter (including opportunity) with a signature fragrance.
If you like using Feng Shui in your life, try wearing good Feng Shui too. A red embroidered lotus jacket provides a graceful silhouette as well as some energy for your spirit. Jewelry and colors are very supportive to the body and spirit as a whole. For enhancing partnership, wear pink. For better health, wear yellow. For more money, wear shades of purples. For better career opportunities, wear black. If you love the look and feel of genuine gemstone, that is even better. Real stones hold an energetic vibration that supports the energy centers of the body. Fiery carnelian worn around the neck promotes fame and a good reputation. Any type of jade jewelry is supportive and lucky to wear. Metaphorical symbols are important in Feng Shui. A turtle bracelet signifies prosperity and long life. A lucky coin bracelet is a great source of good fortune and luck.
Feng Shui will meet you where you are in this journey of life and lovingly support you along the way. Try bringing a little bit of Asia into your space, change things up with new colors that reflect the outdoors, or bring in more softness around you. Just shake things up and makeover your space to whatever suits you. Let Feng Shui support you towards a happier healthier life.
Kilims and dhurries with their bold geometric designs are back in the fashion spotlight. Kilims are flat-weave rugs (no soft pile) from a wide area which sweeps from Morocco to Afghanistan. They are usually striped or geometric. The Indian dhurrie is similar and made of cotton. Add a touch of updated tradition anywhere. Capture the feeling of the open air markets of Marrakesh with these amazing, superior quality hand-woven wool rugs. Reversible dhurrie construction offers years of carefree, stylishwear. Many are thin enough to use on walls, tables and chairs as well as a relaxed and inviting option for floors.
Ikat and Southeast Asia
Current style favorite Ikat is a Malay technique for printing woven fabric by tie dying either or both yarns before weaving. Ikat decor with a difference. Asia Pacific inspiration refreshes your room. Ikat (ee-kaht) is an ancient fabric usually associate with sarongs worn by Balinese royalty. Patterns of flowers, birds, stripes, etc., are produced by weaving tie-dyed silk or cotton threads. This technique is believed to have been separately developed by Japan, Argentina and India.
Sake is one of the fastest growing beverage categories in the US. Sake literally means "alcoholic beverage." It's made from rice, but is brewed like beer. The better the quality of the rice, the better the sake. Premium sake is best served chilled. Light, clean sake with some citrus is usually paired with sushi and shellfish, while earthy, richer sake goes with noodles, mushrooms and meat.Perfect for sharing sake with friends, or a wonderful accompaniment to a meal of sushi or teriyaki. Great as a gift or addition to your own kitchen. Made in Japan.
Simple and sophisticated, filled tokkuri (sake flasks) are often warmed by placing in a pan of hot water—the narrow neck helps retain heat. In Japan, sake cups (ochoko) are traditionally kept full by dining companions rather than poured for oneself.
Chinese History: Ancient China
Neolithic ca. 12000 - 2000 BC
XIA ca. 2000 BC - 1700 BC
Shang 1700 - 1027 BC
Western Zhou 1027-771 BC
Early Imperial China
Qin 221 - 207 BC
Western Han Period 206 BC - 9 AD: Tombs contain objects from civilizations along the Silk Road
Hsing (Wang Mang interregnum) 9 - 25 AD
Eastern Han 25 - 220 AD
Western Jin 265 - 316 AD
Eastern Jin 317 -420 AD
Classical Imperial China
Sui 581 - 617 AD
T'ang 618 - 907 AD
Ten Kingdoms 907 - 979 AD
Liao 916 - 1125 AD
Western Xia 1038 - 1227
Jin 1115 - 1234
Later Imperial China
Yuan 1279 - 1368
Ming 1368 - 1644
Qing 1644 - 1911