Thursday, November 3, 2011

A little bit of pretty...

I have absolutely fallen in love with Oriental Fans, silk umbrellas and bird cages. They are just so quintessentially Chinese without being OTT in the bad taste department. It's just a case of using them cleverly to accent a room with a little bit of pretty. I have a green cage that sits pride of place atop my cabinet in my lounge and a gorgeously painted natural timber fan above our bed to create a romantic, oriental feel in our bedroom. I plan to buy a set of delicately painted silk umbrellas to hang in the girls cute. (although I wouldn't be adverse to hanging one plumb against the corner of the lounge ceiling either...will post a photo when I get around to doing it!!)

A touch of romance with butterfly designs, birds and cheery-blossom, these items, still used by locals in the towns and cities today, have both a practical and aesthetic use. Chinese woman of all ages continue to cool themselves off in the shade with all manner of gorgeous silk fans and shelter their famed porcelain skin with stunning umbrellas. On a sunny day, it is not uncommon to pass literally hundreds of women toting their favourite umbrellas, crocked delicately towards the sun to fend off the rays....I find it so feminine, so endearing. Elderly men take an early morning stroll to the park with their pet birds in exquisite antique bird cages and hook them up on a branch for the birds to tweet a chorus to their hearts content (the Chinese equivalent of taking your dog for a walk, perhaps?!)

How to use these decor items in your home?

Hang the umbrella upside down from the ceiling of your kids bedroom (or a set of them), pop a bird cage on top of your dresser or hang in a forgotten corner of your bedroom or lounge to provide interest, beauty and a talking point. I bought my large embroidered-look timber slat fan in a tiny village in Southern China, made famous for their fan-making skills. It was fascinating to see an entire village of people, as we wandered the age-old dirt streets past their homes, tracing out the fan shape on wooden templates, deftly painting the designs on the fan in their street-front shops and perching on tiny wooden stools to drink lu cha (green tea) whilst waiting for the fans to dry in the sun. We bought ours from a lovely man who invited us to sit with his family and share his pot of tea. Priceless, really.

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