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Attractive cloisonné (*) enamel lady’s table mirror depicting three yellow five-clawed dragons on black ground, in pursuit of flaming pearls. This item was made in China in the late 19th or early 20th Century, probably during the reign of the Guangxu emperor 光緒帝 (reigned 1875-1908).

(*) Cloisonné 景泰蓝

Although popularly associated with Chinese art, the word “cloison” is actually French and means “compartment.” The technique was common in many parts of the world. Ancient Egyptians were the first to employ the cloisonné method.

Cloisonné enamel techniques were brought to China from Persia during the Yuan Dynasty. The techniques were developed further in the Ming Dynasty and became widespread during the reign of seventh Ming Emperor Jingtai 景泰 (reigned 1449-1457). This is the origin of the Chinese name for cloisonné Jingtailan 景泰蓝, with lan 蓝 (blue) being the most common background color. To produce a cloisonné utensil, the artist first produces a copper roughcast, attaches some copper wires forming decorative patterns, adds enamel between the spaces in the wires, and then fires the item in a kiln. Chinese cloisonné is sometimes confused with Canton enamel, a similar type of enamel work that is painted on freehand and does not utilize partitions to hold the colors separate.

Chinese black cloisonné

 

 

2012 The Year of the Dragon

As per the Chinese Zodiac, the coming year of 2012 is Year of Dragon that would commence on 23rd January 2012 and go on till 9th February, 2013. The Dragon is the fifth sign and signifies luck, especially for the Dragon people. Some people say 2012 is a Black Dragon or Water Dragon year.

The Year 2012 is the 4709th Chinese year. The Chinese believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King (he was not the first emperor of China). The Yellow King became king in 2697 B.C.

People born in the Year of the Dragon share certain characteristics: energetic, enterprising, self-assured, brave, passionate, innovative, optimistic, intelligent and ambitious.

 

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The survival of each postcard image printed up to 100 years ago depended on the quantity printed and whether the were collected by people who preserved them. Then if they were passed down through several generations of family members before being sold to an antique dealer, they may have survived. The number sold of each image depended on the popularity of the scene or attraction.

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Chinese New Year by the Chinese Calendar
The Year of the Ox

In the Chinese zodiac, twelve animals are used to denote the year of a person’s birth: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. This is called a person’s shengxiao (sheng means the year of birth, xiao means resemblance) or shuxiang. This year, 2009, is designated the Year of the Ox (1) or year 4706 in the Chinese lunar calendar. The upcoming Chinese lunar New Year will fall on January 26, 2009. The Ox, or the Buffalo sign symbolizes prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox or Buffalo are fortunate to be stable and persevering. The typical Ox is a tolerant person with strong character.
Beneath the placid and unpretentious exterior of the “Earth Ox” lies a heart of gold and a willingness to bear heavy burdens that might overwhelm others.

(1) 己丑 Ji Chou: Ji is the sixth of the Ten Celestial Stems and Chou is the second of the Twelve Terrestrial Branches

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