Just to let everybody know, we are starting the year off continuing our amazing deal on wall fans and decorative lamps. Buy one wall fan or decorative lamp and receive the second at 50% off. We also plan on providing more incentives to our customers, including greater loyalty discounts and free gifts to select customers. It’s only early January, but we have already sourced a great new product - Samurai Statues. These cold cast resin statues feature poses of different Japanese samurai and most stand a foot tall or higher. What sets these states apart from our usual resin statues is that they are actually hand-painted and look very artistic. We fell in love with the samurai statues the first time we saw them. These awesome resin statues are ideal for fans of the martial arts and Asian figurines. You can now seem them live on our website. Check them out and let us know what you think.
We just want to wish everyone the best year ever in 2010. As a reminder, Chinese new year is coming up in early February. It’s going to be the year of the tiger! We will touch more on this in a future blog entry.]]>
Our decorative lamps are a great way to add an enchanting and soft lighting source to any room. They come with a socket, bulb and switch and can be placed on the floor, a stand or a furniture piece. Choose from two sizes - 11 inches tall and 15 inches tall - to create the perfect look in your home or office. Decorative lamps ideally look better when placed in pairs in one room. We’ve made it easy, as you will receive a full 50% off the second decorative lamp you purchase in your order. Come browse our selection and experience the magic of Asian decor.]]>
• Vases often go well in a corner. If you do not use a stand, we recommend using a floor vase that is no less than 35” tall.
• A table vase that is approximately 12” – 24” in height looks great on a stand. Make sure the stand fits the décor of your room.
• Vases with dark and vivid colors will stand out more. Use them in lighter color rooms to bring out their beauty.
• Bamboo and mangowood vases cannot hold water. Instead, place a dry flower arrangement in the vase. They will last for years and significantly enhance the look of the vase and the space they are in.
The art of Chinese calligraphy was so important to the people of past dynasties, that scholars had to practice and master it before they could graduate. A good work of calligraphy does not only possess beauty, but an emotional and spiritual feeling as well. As one Chinese historian from long ago put it, “calligraphy is like images devoid of sound, form or music.” Many calligraphy works were painted as hanging wall scrolls. These scrolls were mounted on walls for decoration, inspiration and wisdom. Many of these scrolls had profound yet simple sayings, such as love, good fortune, health and prosperity, etc.
Many of today’s Chinese art works have calligraphy somewhere on them, even if the main image is a painting. It was also important for the artist to have a seal to be recognized. Many of the seals were done in Chinese calligraphy. Today many people still buy and display Chinese art and calligraphy in their homes and businesses, enjoying the wisdom and beauty of this several thousand year old tradition.]]>
Unlike almost all other cultures in the world, the Asian dragon, and principally the Chinese dragon, was associated as being a creative and positive force. The dragon was the controller of water – the rain, clouds, river, oceans and lakes – and the air. It could inspire rain, storms and floods. Mostly the dragon was benevolent and good to the people. This belief in the Chinese dragon by the people of the Far Eastern region extends back in time to circa 3500-2,000 BC, during the Hongshan culture. The mighty Chinese dragon is even mentioned in the famous I-Ching, The Book of Changes. This book was written around 1027-221 BC, during the Zhou dynasty.
The Chinese often portrayed their dragons in fantastical proportions. For one, the dragon sometimes looked as if it were two or three beasts in one, with the head of a horse, the body of a serpent and the claws of an eagle. The Chinese dragon was often painted flying through the clouds or water, sometimes spewing fire from its mouth, demonstrating its awesome power. An imperial emblem as well, the dragon was seen as friend and protector of the Emperor. That is where the term “Dragon King” derives from. Often the Emperor would be represented by nine dragons, with nine being a very important number in Chinese culture. Nine is the highest single number and so the Emperor was usually always represented by nine dragons.
Today the Chinese dragon is still a widely popular symbol. It is displayed in works of Asian art, tattoos, movies, books, and a wide variety of outlets. The dragon still dominates the landscape in China, with the dragon being one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. The dragon is also a style of kung fu (dragon style) and is a popular nickname for martial artists, such as the skilled fighter Don the Dragon Wilson. Go anywhere in China, and the symbol of the dragon is prevalent. From parades with paper mache dragons, to dragons carved on the side of buildings and movie posters showing dragon creatures on them. The West has embraced the concept of the Chinese dragon and today most Westerners respect and appreciate the beauty, artistry and symbolism of this long-time mythical creature.]]>
After mastering the movements, the budding samurai would spar against a real opponent with a wood sword, which the Japanese call “bokuto”. Eventually the samurai hopeful would spar with real iron or steel swords. Before a strike could be made, the samurai was expected to stop his sword before hitting his target. This was called “tsumeru” and was practiced for years. When ready, perhaps as a late teenager, the young samurai might be called into battle or asked to execute criminals.
Samurai never stop practicing their skills, so the older, more experienced warriors were usually the toughest to defeat. Today, the code of the samurai is something more remembered than something practiced in Japan or around the world. Movies like “The Last Samurai” paint a gruesome and inspirational image of what it meant to be a samurai. If we can even muster half the discipline in our lives that samurai warriors possessed, we will be very successful in anything we do.]]>
As can be seen on the TV show “Deadliest Warrior,” aired on Spike TV, the Japanese sword can rupture or cut right through certain battle armor and shields. Japanese Samurai practiced their technique relentlessly, as one wrong move could spell death. In the eighth century, most Samurai swords began to be created with a curved blade instead of a straight one. This favored fighting on horseback, rather than ground combat, which was more popular at the time.
In 1334, during the pinnacle of the Samurai class, Japanese smiths began forging straight blades again when ground fighting came back into vogue. Longer blades were called for and the development of these swords came to be known as “odachi”. The odachi swords were so long and heavy that they had to be wielded with two hands. They created a devastating impact when they landed on their target, usually causing a fatal blow. But they were heavy and cumbersome and hard to use against shorter, faster swords.
Thus the odachi sword was shortened with the cutting edge facing up. This type of sword became known as the “katana,” and is still one of the most popular of all Japanese Samurai swords to this day. The total length of the blade was about 40 inches. Warfare in Japan changed drastically when the Portuguese exposed the Japanese to firearms in 1542. Swords were modified to be better after that, but the Japanese Samurai could not stand up to bullets. Eventually their class died out, and after World War II, Japanese sword making was banned by America.
In 1953, sword-making was allowed again and a number of Japanese sword smiths continued to carry on the tradition of forging beautiful and strong Japanese Samurai swords. The sword has been popularized in many martial arts movies, such as Kill Bill, The Last Samurai, Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon and Bruce Lee’s movies. Today, many people still practice “kendo,” the ancient art of Japanese sword fighting. Kendo proponents respect and honor the Samurai sword and most own at least one authentic sword.
Many people collect swords and some decorate their homes or offices with authentic Samurai swords. If you are looking for a unique decorative look in your home or office, try showcasing an authentic Japanese Samurai sword or two. Oriental-Decor.com carries a magnificent line of authentic Samurai swords at very affordable prices. Check out our selection today.]]>