Father’s day is always the third Sunday in June, and it’s not always easy to come up with a great gift for Dad, year after year. For Father’s day , consider an interesting, unique gift, to help make his bedroom, home office, or work place, his own. A unique statue, a distinctive piece of wall art, or a practical piece of furniure or décor, may make your father’s day present stand out from years past- in a good way. In this post we suggest a number of gifts with masculine appeal, for Dad’s dresser top, desk top, or work space. (more…)

Chow Coffee Table

To offer Asian style coffee tables is slightly disingenuous, as coffee has only become popular in Asia over the last 100 years. A “tea table” is a more traditional beverage serving accessory in East Asia but is used interchangeably with the more modern term “coffee table“.

In Chinese, Japanese, and various Asian wood working and furniture-making traditions, an array of furniture has been used as coffee tables including: benches, low tables, altar tables, low cabinets, blanket trunks, and linen chest.

Refined Coffee Tables, Rustic Coffee Tables

Here we review and compare categories of interesting and distinctive imported Asian furnishings well suited for coffee tables; traditional, refined, and elegant designs, as well as casual, natural, and rustic styles.

Also, we suggest matching pairs of rosewood or ceramic stools, cube shape chests in wood or rattan, and square shape low tables that work as appealing alternative design coffee tables. Beautiful in front of a sofa or love seat in a living room, family room, den, or professional office. (more…)

Humans have woven natural plant fiber into baskets, and later into furniture and accessories, since the stone age. Weaving dried plant materials: dried vines, dried cacti, dried grasses, hemp, and cotton, is one of the world’s oldest arts & crafts, predating pottery. To this day, weaving of dried plants into useful furnishings is one of the practical arts common to cultures throughout the world.

Ecologically Low Impact, Renewable and Abundant

Bamboo Matchstick Room DividerDried plant fibers are light weight, durable and extremely abundant and they are easier to harvest than wood or animal products. The ecological impact of weaving fast growing grasses and vines to make furniture, window treatments, and floor coverings is lower than cutting forests, as the material is renewed each year. Even bamboo is a grass, not a tree, and grows to maturity in just six seasons. (more…)

Pottery is almost as old as mankind. Shards of ancient pottery as old as 4000 B.C.E. have been found on archeological digs on 5 continents. For archeologists, the quality of the pottery an ancient culture produced is a significant sign of the culture’s level of social development.

Porcelain First Achieved in Shang Dynasty China

The most important qualitative breakthrough in ceramics and pottery from a technology standpoint was the invention of porcelain. The oldest pieces of what can be described as “proto-porcelain” have been found in Shang dynasty era China, roughly 1600 B.C. E. Actual porcelain was in use widely in Han dynasty China by 200 B.C.E.

High Temperature Kilns in 8th Century China

The classic porcelain most of us associate with the word is the thin, extra hard and translucent white ceramic pottery. This was first achieved by master Chinese potters in the eighth century, and perfected over the Tang, Song & Yuan dynasties.

The breakthrough came when potters took pottery thrown from specially formulated clay, and fired them in kilns built to generate ultra-high temperatures of between 1200 & 1400 degrees C. (2100 to 2500 degrees F).

The correct combination of clay, silica, and minerals, and the extraordinary heat, produced a quality of fine ceramic pottery previously unseen. Though whispered about for centuries.

Earthenware, stoneware, terra cotta, ceramics of all kinds, were forever relegated to a quaint, very easily broken past. Hard, beautiful, lightweight, fine porcelain was the future of pottery. And it began, and, for the most part, remains, in mainland China. That’s why sometimes, it’s call “Fine China”. (more…)

Finding lovely gifts for the one’s you love isn’t easy. For Valentine’s Day, we think you’ll find our website a great resource for outstanding gifts, and that we can make finding the right Valentine’s Day present just a little easier than last year.

Gifts for Him; Gifts for Her

For the men in your life, we have several interesting Valentine’s Day gift suggestions; some romantic, some artistic, and some practical. For the woman in your life, well, we have gift suggestions in the same categories. When choosing for him or for her, the trifecta of gift giving is thoughtful, practical, beautiful. It’s probably a little trite to talk about the “wow” factor, but, it’s nice to find something that has it.

Every Man Deserves a Happy Buddha

Happy Buddha StatueFor a guy, a lover or a friend, husband or boyfriend, consider our selection of cast resin Happy Buddha statues. We offer one of the largest collections of cast resin Japanese and Chinese art statues on the web, including mediation Buddha statues, Buddhist monks, Tang horse statues, as well as Foo dog lion book ends, to mention a few. These unique figures can add interest and charm to a man’s bedroom or office. (more…)

This is Part III in a series of posts about the Washitsu design style, click here for Part I and here for Part II.

Shoji Lanterns

Shoji lanterns cast a lovely, soft, diffused light in any room, great for creating a sense of quiet and calm in the bedroom. We also offer a selection of Japanese style *overhead hanging lamps, with the light switch built into the power cord, creating a particularly practical, portable ceiling light fixture, that you can put almost anywhere that you can screw a hook into the ceiling. Additionally, our shoji wall sconces also make a significant contribution to a sense of quiet washitsu wherever they’re installed.

Washitsu Wall Art

On the wall often hang hand painted art; Japanese or Chinese ink & water color paintings, or artistically rendered calligraphy characters, “sumi-e” in Japanese. Subtle, elegant, hand painted silk wall screens, hand painted scrolls, or hand painted decorative fans. Alternately, carved wall art, including kanji characters or carved Shou symbol (found with our wood or lacquered wall plaques),may be placed to bless the room, and the home.

To decorate the shrine, we offer a wide variety of cast resin statues of Guatama Buddha, the enlightened one, in ancient Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Burmese, and Thai art motifs, Quan Yin, and Hotei or Budai, called “Happy Buddha”. We also offer sublimely beautiful Jade carvings, of Buddha and Quan Yin, as well as Jade animals and classic Jade trees.

Vases, Jars, or Bowls in the Washitsu

Fresh flowers and fresh fruit are often placed in the tokonomo, or anywhere in a washitsu. Beautiful oriental porcelains, flower vases, temple jars, and fruit bowls, lacquered or glazed, with cherry blossom or landscape designs, decorate the washitsu. A ficus or rubber tree is sometimes displayed in a traditional oriental fishbowl planter.

Washitsu & Black Cotton Trim

We beautiful, rustic yet refined bamboo and sisal rugs, both with distinctive tatami mat style black cotton trim, for equally beautiful, surprisingly inexpensive, natural style floor coverings. We also offer a selection of woven rush grass furnishings with subtle, beautiful, black cotton trim; tables, stands, chests, baskets, shelf units, even woven floor vases and umbrella stands, true to the washitsu aesthetic.

This is Part II in a series of posts about the Washitsu design style, click here for Part I.

Shoji Sliding Doors

Sliding shoji doors provide a strong sense of washitsu, particularly, more space and more light. The washi paper shade allows softened, diffused light through the lattice work, that solid walls and doors block out. Also, hinged doors require unusable space for the door to swing. We offer beautifully crafted Japanese style shoji doors in a variety of fine wood finishes, even with Cherry Blossoms or Bamboo Trees printed on the washi paper shades.

Shoji Screen Room Dividers

Shoji room dividers are a wonderful convenience, with so many practical uses; temporarily blocking the view from a window or doorway, hiding a messy area or the bed, and privacy for getting dressed and undressed, as well as an attractive background or alternative headboard. Japanese shoji screens are lightweight, practical accessories that, once you have one, it can be hard to remember how you did without. (more…)

This is Part I in a series of posts about the Washitsu design style:

“Washitsu” is a Japanese word that refers to the original, authentic style of interior design developed in Edo period Japan; a décor that seems to impart a serenity and comfort that transcends the unassuming, well-crafted furnishings and accessories. Fine quality, natural materials, and intelligent, convenient design combine to create elegantly simple, beautiful doors & windows treatments, bedding, lighting, furniture, art, and decorations. Slide open the door, and almost without thinking, one naturally bends down to slip off their shoes, maintaining the cleanliness and beauty of the space.

The Washitsu Bedroom

Entered through a set of fine Japanese shoji sliding doors, opening onto a beautiful tatami mat floor, we’d find a practical shoji paper privacy screen, an authentic shiki futon rather than a mattress, a kaki futon rather than a comforter, a shoji lantern rather than a table lamp and a shoji floor lamp rather than a torchiere, a zaisu tatami chair, a low scholar’s desk, and a richly grained wood tansu rather than a dresser, and refined oriental style art and porcelains. (more…)

The most important holiday festival in the Far East, Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year, is celebrated enthusiastically across Asian American communities throughout the US and Canada. Lots of red decorations & red lanterns, dragons, and Chinese characters decorate homes, businesses, temples, and institutions the world over. Family, friends, business associates, teachers and students exchange congratulations for success in the year past, good wishes for the coming year, as well as red envelopes with money to encourage prosperity, and thoughtful gifts to express affection.

Fine Jewelry Boxes for Her

The second new moon after the winter solstice (Dec. 21st, 2010) is the first day of the festival, often falling within a week of the western holiday of Valentine’s day. Among the younger generation of American born Asian families, sometimes gifts of fine oriental jewelry boxes are given to ladies. Browse our selection of elegant oriental jewelry boxes, both lovely lacquered designs with birds and flowers, and elegant fine Chinese Rosewood designs with auspicious oriental Shou symbols.

Jade Carvings for Him, or Happy Buddha Statues

The Jade Emperor is the name given the unnamed deity in ancient Taoist tradition, and Jade horses, Jade dragons, Jade tigers, and Jade elephants; Jade carvings of animals of power and intelligence make distinctive, unique gifts for the man of the house, as well as for friends, relatives, and corporate gifts. Also, we offer an unmatched collection of Budai & Hotei statues, the jolly Happy Buddha, with his never empty sack of plenty, symbolic of prosperity in the coming year, great gifts for dads, bosses, brothers or teachers, and between families. (more…)

We are excited to introduce a wonderful, beautiful collection of classic Japanese design Geisha figurines, crafted from heavy cast resin with scrimshaw style carving. These designs are based on ancient whale & cow bone carving, in the “netsuke” carving tradition of medieval Japan, the time of the samurai, ninjas & shoguns.

Each casting has been delicately hand painted; some just the facial details & elaborate hair styles and some with intricately rendered colorful kimonos & obi (sashes). Ranging between 14 & 18” tall, these are stunning works of Asian art, beautiful collectibles, perfect for a shelf or hearth, as well as a curio cabinet or display case.

The kimono each figurine is wearing is one of more than one hundred classic kimono designs, each symbolic of particular seasonal festivals, imperial holidays, historical commemorations, and traditional mythical celebrations.

The hairstyles can be in one of many styles, referred to as “shimada;” the “mage” bun style was the most popular. The elaborate hair combs & hairpins a Geisha wore were indicative of her junior or senior status, called “kanzashi”.

Contrary to popular belief, Geisha’s are not courtesans or even concubines; rather they are part of a tradition of feminine companionship without analogy in Western traditions. By their extraordinary costume & makeup, their refined & graceful conversation, and delicate, almost ballet like movements in serving tea or sake, the Geisha provided a transcendent experience of feminine beauty. (more…)