28 January 2016

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is an important festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. 2016 is the 4713th Chinese Year and the year of the Monkey; the first day falls on February 4th. People born within the Year of the Monkey are defined as quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous, however it's also believed to be one of the most unlucky years within the Chinese calendar.

In London the Chinese New Year party is the biggest outside of Asia and is set to start on February 14th. Thousands of people are expected to mark the occasion in London's Chinatown, where a parade historically takes place.

According to legend, the start of the Chinese New Year started with a legendary beast known as the Nian who would eat villagers. In order to safeguard themselves, the villagers would place food in front of their doors at the start of each year. One day, a villager set out to get revenge on the Nian. A god visited him and told him to place red paper on his house and to position firecrackers, which led to villagers understanding that the Nian was frightened of the colour red.

Once the New Year was approaching, the villagers would wear red garments and suspend red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People additionally used firecrackers to scare off the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again.

To ring in the Chinese New Year we have selected some superb Chinese pieces from our dealers at Grays.

Chinese mini clobbered teapot, avaliable from Anita Gray

19th century Chinese amber carving of man, available from Linda Wheatley

18th century Chinese Famille Rose sparrow beak porcelain jug, available from Anita Gray
Pair of 17th century Chinese blanc de chine Dogs of Fo, available from Guest and Gray

17th century Chinese wucai baluster vase and cover, available from Guest and Gray

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