Category Archives: News

Blue and White

Ming Porcelain, British Museum

To complement your April newsletter, British Museum Curator’s Corner –  An introduction to Ming blue and white porcelain.  Some good close-ups of the designs.

If you want to splash out on your own moon vase!

Member Zara: American expert giving layman talks on ceramics.   He uses the Museum virtual tour which is very high quality, picks items to expand on with superb images and he talks about them. Takes you through most of the main ceramic wares at the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, including blue-and-white at minute 25.

You can overdoes on blue-and-white Chinese porcelain at the Dresden Porcelain Collection.

Qing Dragon Vases, Dresden


Cards hand-made by members.

Birthday card by Benita
Easter Card by Chris G
Roses by Benita
Sweet peas by Benita
Hydrangea by Benita

Karen J says: My cards have been invaluable during the pandemic, enjoyed by friends and family, and have saved money! These are made from prints of my larger paintings:

Card Creativity

Cards for the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox.

Cards by Colleen on her own home-made paper: water buffalo inspired by Qi Baishi, and origami valentine hearts. Water buffalo enjoying the cool water by Liz M.

Expressive water buffalo from new member Anthony:

New Year wish from teacher Maggie, and home-made envelopes from Zara:

Chris G’s card features Lao Tzu riding his ox backwards, plus amazing origami by herChinese daughter-in-law.

Cards from Hakima and Pat J. Catherine W decorated her pot-plant with Chinese knots and tassels.

Tina made some New Year cards for her grandchildren.  Firstly folded an origami ox ‘red envelope – 紅包’, (using you tube video). Put couplets (the calligraphy was written on cut up, used red envelope) in the pocket of the ox, with double sided tape on the back. The idea is for the recipient to ‘hang’ them either side of the door. The house was made from magazine cuttings!  福, fu, fortune, is traditionally written upside-down.

Christmas Creativity

Claire’s festive rat!
Claire’s robin card
Angela’s mouse card
Annie H’s wistful mouse
Pat’s peckish rat
Pat says apologies to Qi Baishi, but this festive rat needed a mince pie and a glass of sherry, after a difficult year for rats!
All Good Wishes from Reg
Ann H’s colourful poinsettia
Amaryllis from Susan J

Marion has had an outburst of origami, inspired by the MEAA online course:

Marion’s trees and a fun seal!
Marion’s cards
Marion’s deer
A moon jar and tree from Zara
A Japanese influence on Frances Y
Peachy’s poinsettia

Peng says “I happen to have done a few rat studies that might make some silly Christmas stories that make me laugh”:
1, Ms rat skips healthy sprouts and goes straight to the mince pies.
2, She can’t decide on whether she should have the pigs in a blanket first or a glass of wine, maybe she is already drunk.
3, ‘Control me?!, you need to tidy your kitchen first!’ The owner of the house is having some morning lie-ins after days of celebrating and drinking.

Mince pie
pigs in a blanket
3D card by Chris G
3D tree by Chris G
bird & Pine Chris G
Peace on home-made paper by Colleen
Anne A’s reindeer

Effortless Education

There are many lectures and webinars in Chinese art & culture.  here are some recommendations from members.

ZT:   I signed up for this live talk from US China Institute and very much worth watching on the Qianlong Emperor. The events are middle of the night our time but they record and send an email later so have just watched this one. The expert speakers knew their stuff and part of the restoration team at the Forbidden Palace.  This link is the 1st talk in the series of 3 on the architecture of the Forbidden City.

Gresham College lectures include a series on Chinese Art by Craig Clunas.  His 90 second reply on Western & Chinese art.

ZT:  Podcast BBC4 short ( 13mins) on maritime trade in the Ming was on this morning- Yongle Emperor and all that. David Abulafia charts the surprising extent of maritime exploration in Ming dynasty China.

AR & ZT: Learn about Robert Van Gulik – podcast and his collection.

CK:  Have just finished a book about China and especially Yunnan. It is “The Five Foot Road”  by Angus McDonald, who is an Australian who decided to follow in the footsteps of another traveller G.E.Morrison who travelled there 100 years previously.  Also  just finished reading Sorrow Mountain: The Remarkable Story of a Tibetan Warrior Nun by Ani Pachen and Adelaide Donelley.

China: A History in Objects (British Museum)

3812 Gallery’s 12 Days of Christmas in Chinese paintings is adding daily.

Discussion of modern Chinese art.

As a change from tea, Asia House’s exploration of the story of coffee.

Chinese culture and language also available with Madison Plantier (who did our AGM afternoon talk).

CityLit courses include Chinese language, Qigong, introduction to Chinese language through objects in the British Museum.

Online Tai Chi & Qigong.

Get a touch of Tantra at the BM, and have a go at a mandala

The Met’s catalogue of Buddhist sculpture is available free.

Asia House is planning A Journey Trough the Past and Future of Human Voice:

A new approach to Chinese arts.

Unsung Heroes of Ink is a new film exploring the importance and role of paper in Chinese ink painting.  Interesting trailer.




North Star Studio

You can never have too much Hokusai.  Thanks to CBPS members Jane & Zara for pointing out that the British Museum has his Great Picture Book of Everything (search BM Collection for Hokusai+everything to see all the drawings).

This collection of line drawings includes this flamboyant peacock and phoenix.

Zara: “Certainly some interesting ones to have a go at to practice my line ink drawing. Not sure he had ever seen a real elephant!”


Five Colours

Wuxing  – “five movements” – is a traditional Chinese view of the natural world that relates the five elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water to the cardinal directions, the symbolic colours – Green, Red Yellow, White and Black – and powerful mythical creatures such as the White Tiger.

A new documentary series Colours of China ,  is structured round these 5 colours. It is available through Amazon Prime.  The short trailer has some lovely images.  Thanks to CBPS Member Colleen for this.

There are some fantastic photos on the NationsOnline website, including China, plus more about the five colours – including their associated sounds!

Yellow is Forbidden is a documentary about luxury clothes designer Guo Pei and her aspirations to join the exclusive club of Paris haute couture.  The catwalk display at the end is definitely not everyday wear!

A glimpse of the rice terraces of Guizhou, and more.

Wu Guangzhong, Garden in Suzhou

A western oil painter paints Chinese mountains, with interesting use of colour.


Wu Guanzhong’s colours – up for auction!


In Black and White

BBC 4 series The Secret History of Writing includes Chinese characters.
Episode 1 introduces the archaic script of oracle bones.  It also highlighted the similarities in the methods used by ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Mayan and Chinese scripts to convey both sounds and meaning.  Shots of an oriental calligrapher illustrated the effortless flow of black ink on white paper.


Episode 2 includes oriental paper making, and its gradual transmission to the west.

Episode 3 features water calligraphy in China, and views from contemporary artist Xu Bing, including his Book from the Ground, composed solely of general symbols and signs.
Xu Bing is of course well known for his other explorations of writing : the Book from the Sky – a tour de force of  woodblock printing of unreal characters –  Landscript, and Square Word calligraphy.


“Twenty years ago I made Book from the Sky, a book of illegible Chinese characters that no one could read. Now I have created Book from the Ground, a book that anyone can read.”—Xu Bing