Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dolls, dolls, dolls

I cannot resist buying little dolls especially quirky little ones. The pair of school girls remind me of the characters from one of my favourite children's book Madeline while the little pigs look quite dandy and cheeky. They could even be a gay couple. The Russian doll and her 2 daughters are another of my favourite. They remind me of myself and my daughters.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Matryoshka - Little Russian dolls

Little Russian dolls are making their presence felt all over the interiors world from shower curtains to fabrics and cushion covers.

Here are some hand-made Russian dolls of mine which make such a colourful picture. I call them my pretty maids all in a row !

Sunday, September 7, 2008

China clay dolls from the late 70s

During the days when Mao's Little Red Book was still relevant, little clay dolls of China's kids playing ping pong, singing patriotic songs, doing acrobatic moves etc were very popular. They all had the same distinctive yellowish brown tinge of colour. I saw some sold by an elderly Chinese couple when I visited China Square's flea market for the first time last year. I chose 2 little girls which incidentally reminded me of my daughters. The older girl loves reading books and playing with animals while the younger one is always brandishing some Chinese kung fu moves or swinging a pole like a wushu exponent. These 2 dolls are fondly displayed on my sideboard.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New York flea market finds

Whenever I get a chance to go to New York, I make it a point to stay over a weekend to visit the flea market near Hell's Kitchen. While my friends love shopping at the Woodbury outlet centre for branded goods, my interest centres around flea markets.

Need to bring along ready cash at a flea market and be prepared to bargain. Sometimes you might get lucky. Bought these beautiful gold plates at US$1 each and I didn't even have to bargain as the price quoted was already quite low. There was even a 22k gold marking on the underside. I will bring these out when I have afternoon tea with cakes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hello Mr Gollywog !

Came across another interesting toy at the China Square Flea Market. That of a jolly skiing Golly, a collector 's item tin toy designed in Singapore by the toys museum. According to the little booklet attached, they secured the rights to make tin toys of Noddy, Big Ears and Golly, characters created by Enid Blyton. Golly even came with its own beautiful tin box and a serial number.

Since I was a kid, I loved the character Golliwog as he has such a beautiful and interesting face.
It was only later that Golliwog was perceived to be derogatory for blacks and even recently, the Queen was red faced when one of the shops associated with her estate was found selling the Golliwog. They were soon withdrawn from the shop.

In my opinion, too many political undertones for such a beautiful character that stands out from the masses of other toys.

Owls hanging out

Was at the park in Lower Pierce recently and while the kids were playing, I was having my own fun with my hand-made owls. My daughter Chloe ran over from the playground behind and helped me to fiddle these little creatures so that they would hang beautifully !

Owls are such a hoot!

3 women in a drizzle

Love the silohuette of the Chinese qi pao in this Hu Yong Kai painting. Very elegant indeed !

Hu Yong Kai - Chinese painter

I first came across a beautifully framed Hu Yong Kai print while shopping near Golden Sands beach resort in Penang. Not exactly a place to find a Chinese painting shop but there it was sandwiched between the endless number of souvenir shops.

If you love the movie "In the mood for love" starring the enigmatic Maggi Cheung and Tony Leung, you would appreciate a Hu Yong Kai painting. He studied at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing and was later an art director at the Shanghai Animation Studios in the 60's.

I love the way he combines the classic charm of a lady from the Eastern world and the exciting allure of a woman in modern times. This picture of Shanghainese ladies in the 60's adds a touch of oriental glam to the corner of my balcony.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Currypan Man, Baikin Man, Shokupan Man and Dokin-chan

Shot via St Stev from Flick

Can't resist putting up this colourful poster from the Anpan Man Museum, Japan.
Baikin Man - Anpan Man's arch enemy is the temperamental looking guy on the bottom left.

Anpan Man Museum

Shot via Vlayusuke on Flickr

There is an Anpan Man Museum located in Kahoku-cho, Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku, in the southern part of Japan. This is the hometown of Yanase Takashi , creator of Anpan Man and his friends.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Doll house

Visited the China Square flea market last Sunday and it was crowded with buyers looking for collector's toys especially Japanese manga characters. Amidst the Gundum, Sailor Moons and Pokemons, I spotted some odd looking Sega characters. One carried a slice of bread as a head and another had one of a Japanese soup bowl. I couldn't resist them...all 22 different oddities packaged in a bag.

The lady who sold them to me mentioned that her friend in Japan collects them. Tried searching for their real names on the net and found that they were super popular Japanese anime characters based on children's favourite snacks and food. No wonder they appealed so much to me ! The lead character Anpan man (sweet bean paste bun man) is the one with the round face and his pastry friends include Skokupanman (Mr Slice Whitebread ) and Currypan man. They are the ones sharing jokes over a cup of tea in my doll's house.

Skokupanman is cool and level headed while Currypan man has a quick temper. He really can't help it as his head is filled with spicy curry ! Anpan man 's other friends include Melonpanna (a melon filled bun girl), Rollpanna, (you guess it ! some form of bread roll), Cheese (the dog) and many more.

Is Anpan Man a hero ? Well, he tries to save the world not by his physical strength but rather by sacrificing himself. For instance, he saves a hungry boy by allowing him to eat part of his head ! There is definitely some dark humour going on there. But fret not, Ojisan (Uncle Jam ) revitalises him by baking him a new head each time. Yes, logical .....I think I'm getting addicted.

Like all heroes, Anpan man has an arch enemy - Baikin man (Germ man) whose aim in life is to destroy Anpan Man and turn the world into Germ World. His weakness - soap. Kids, wash your hands before you eat your snacks !