In honor of my late mother-in-law’s birthday this month…..
This is a preference close to my heart, because my late father-in-law and mother-in-law were both collectors and aficionados of Asian art as well as students of oriental spiritual traditions, including Buddhism. My husband grew up in a home filled with Hindu thangkahs, bronze Buddhas and Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian prints, embroideries and paintings.
Despite many of their pieces being antiques, the colors of these traditional art pieces can be so vibrant, often jewel tones. The motifs can be found in vintage textiles like silk kimonos, or in origami papers that are easy to find and enjoy.
I grew up with several beautiful pieces my mother bought in our travels to Asia including some hand painted scrolls, hanging with porcelain tassels as weights, and a beautiful silk batik of a horse on a field of bright red. That one striking image always said “home” to me, wherever we happened to be.
Visually the look can range from very simple, graphic calligraphy, to blue and white china ware, through to highly detailed gilded carved screens and multi hued embroideries.
One reason I like to call it fusion is to incorporate the Chinoiserie from Europe – Oriental motifs and scenes from scrolls and stories recreated for European drawing rooms in folding screens or glass paintings.
I describe it in my Etsy Treasury as:
Asian traditional, Hindu pantheon, Buddha, ink, Japan, China and Persian – especially beautiful in a traditional or minimalist home – lustrous, gilded, serene, textured, calligraphic elements. “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “The Last Emperor”
I would add Pearl Buck stories, “Hawaii” and Kurosawa movies, zen gardens with rocks and gravel.
Bringing it home
I think the key to incorporating this into your life is to love the individual pieces. Bronze statues or colorful prints go well in a minimalist environment, with clean lines and steel or concrete. But they also enliven traditional decor and furniture – dark wood, curved shapes.
It can be great fun to embrace the textiles – especially as scarves, accessories and in jewelry. I own some cloisonne enameled bangles that were my mother’s, again from our travels. Famous and beautiful Asian art pieces are often immortalized as note cards – another item my mother-in-law loved to collect and use for art pieces, like collages.
Oh and I don’t mean kuwaii – that’s a whole other aesthetic.
For a look at some of the pieces my husband was surrounded with, this auction at Paddle 8 continues for another 10 days or so.