Enjoy exploring through some current newsletters of our showroom in Glebe. These newsletter are updated regularly to give you an overview of what has been happening in store.
A Stool? A Table? A Throne?
It all comes down to lineage
The next time you place your coffee cup on a table that looks like one of these beautiful hand carved stools below you may want to think about what they were designed for; ceremonial thrones for the kings and chieftains of the Bamileke tribes of the Cameroon grasslands.
These intricately carved stools are a symbol of power and knowledge and were used in important ceremonies amongst the Bamileke tribes. Hand carved from a single tree trunk the criss-cross designs represent the earth spider (an underground dwelling spider of the tarantula genus) that is thought to be the all-knowing link between this world and the ancestors of the village.
The Bamileke people believe that the spider holds the answers to the villagers problems and the village diviner will examine the leaf chips around the spiders entrance hole much like a tea leaf reader or palm reader to interpret the future or solutions to the current or upcoming villagers problems.
The stools are hand carved from a single tree trunk which makes these thrones as environmentally frugal as they are regal.
Popular as an occasional side table or coffee table as a single table or in clusters, Orient House always have a variety on display, so feel free to pop in and find a throne that will sit comfortably in your home.
A comfortable investment
Not all Malawi Cane chairs are made equal. Like all hand-made items there are always human imperfections. Some are just small design idiosyncrasies and unique touches, others are faults or poor materials.
As the interest in Malawi chairs has increased over the last few years so has the demand. This has led to some inferior products entering the marketplace and hence a diminished view of the original product.
As the original importers of Malawi chairs, Orient House ensure that all of our products are quality checked and approved for Australian standards. We believe that the original craftsmanship and traditional skills handed down over generations through the Malawi people is worthy of maintaining and strive to keep that authenticity alive with our Malawi chairs.
And because each item is inspected for quality at the source and on arrival, here at Orient House, you can sit comfortably knowing that your purchase is of the finest making.
The making of Malawi Cane Chairs
The Malawi craftsmen and women start making the chair frames with wood locally sourced from the Blue Gum trees which is renowned for its strength and durability. They then insert strips of dried willow and water reed which gives the chairs their comfort and unique patterns. The willow and water reeds are so flexible and strong that they are able to tie special knots to secure it rather than use glues.
Although the craft of making these beautiful chairs stems back generations the enterprising nature of these people have utilised more recent manufactured objects to help shape the designs, with the curved back of the chairs often made using spare bicycle wheels or car parts as temporary frames to help guide the willow branches and reeds into place.
Purchasing an Orient House original Malawi Cane Chair is an investment in art over function.
A message from the Chair Man
On our recent trip to the Indonesian Archipelago we caught up with one of the region’s master rattan craftsmen. Satyo has been creating wicker furniture, fishing baskets, beds, boxes, chests and more for decades, a skill he has learned from traditional methods handed down over generations.
Rattan is the plant or tropical vine that is used in the art of wicker making and is extraordinarily versatile and better still, sustainable.
Over the centuries, as well as being used to make furniture, it has been used in the construction of local property, clothing, weaponry, art and crafts, a food source, medicine and something I’d rather not remember from my childhood of growing up in England, as corporal punishment or ‘the cane’ at school.
Rattan as a material is lightweight, durable, suitable for outdoor use and to an extent, flexible.
Harvesting Rattan gives local loggers an alternative to logging the slow growing hardwood trees in the forest and because it grows back to maturity within a relatively short 5-7 years it is a more sustainable way to manage the fragile forests and wildlife of the region.
Rattan is much easier to harvest, transport and requires simpler tools to manage. This makes it a huge potential in forest maintenance, since it provides a profitable crop that depends on rather than replaces trees.
Its sustainability and ultimately biodegradable composition make it the perfect replacement for so much of today’s plastic items.
Of course, as always, our Indonesian container will be full of a plethora of other beautiful handcrafted items and home decor pieces from Sumatran shell necklaces, Sumba stone statues, Dutch inspired vintage teak benches, petrified stools, carved furniture, bronze pots and more.
Orient House welcome you to try one of Satyo’s unique hand crafted rattan chairs for yourself this week at our showroom at Orient House, 45 Bridge Road, Glebe, NSW and sit comfortably knowing that you have not only taken a strain of the worlds natural resources but have also taken the strain off the financial burden for Satyo, his family and village.
No allen key required
Along with the porcelain pieces in this container we have some beautifully restored antique, vintage and rustic furniture that we have sourced from some of the more remote villages and towns in Northern China. Finding unusual pieces is always a challenge, but by pushing ourselves deeper into the Chinese countryside we have uncovered some truly unique pieces some of which are over 100 years old.
The Ming period is regarded as the “golden age” of Chinese furniture, though very few examples of earlier pieces survive with most of the furniture being made for the European market coming from the Qing period. This distinctive style tended to be more elaborate and inlaid with shell and carved lacquer embellishments to suit the affluent European court tastes of the time.
Much of the early Chinese antique furniture was constructed without any glue of metallic nails or fasteners. This was primarily because the vast changes of temperature and humidity did not allow for the movement in the wood and the glue did not bond well with the resinous oily wood. Hence the carpenters of the time were forced to build furniture solely with incredibly strong woodworking joints.
At least you know that when you get home and unpack your Antique Chinese side cabinet you won’t be presented with a plastic bag full of nuts, bolts and an Allen key.
Direct off a very slow boat from China
Touring the open markets of Northern China from Beijing, Hebei Province, Shanxi Province and through to Tianjin Province has been a valuable experience for us with a new container load of exquisite Ming and Qing Dynasty-inspired porcelain pieces to share with you this week.
As always we’d love to welcome you to view the new arrivals and say ‘Nín hǎo’ at our showroom at 45 Bridge Road Glebe NSW. Come early and we’ll even put the kettle on for a cup of tea while you browse.
It’s no coincidence that porcelain is called china. Authentic Chinese porcelain was first produced in the Han Dynasty (206 BC– 220 AD) and it continued to be an important national art all the way up until the last imperial dynasty — the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912).
It’s actually made from a mix of ingredients such as glass, bone, ash, quartz, alabaster and a clay material called Kaolin which is named after a small village near China’s porcelain capital, Jingdezhen.
Kaolin is actually an interesting material in its own right. It’s used in medicine for diarrhoea relief and relief from ulcers in the mouth and because of its excellent drying properties it’s used in cosmetics including face powders, face masks, creams, lotions for oily skin, bath powders, foundation cake makeup, dry rouges, deodorants and soaps.
The blue colouring used in traditional Chinese porcelain designs is cobalt. Cobalt was used because of its ability to retain its rich deep colour after a double high temperature firing. Other colours were less stable which is why the world ended up with so much blue and white Chinese porcelain.
Most of the porcelain we bring in are copies of Ming and Qing Dynasty pieces and are relatively new. They are primarily vintage hand-me-down pieces (20- 60yrs old), they usually do not have reign marks.
If you are lucky enough to find an authentic Ming or Qing dynasty porcelain piece expect to have to offer all the tea in China and some. A small 4 inch high Ming vase found in a dusty cupboard at a UK University sold for $6.5 million back in 2016 and more recently an 18th-century Chinese vase found in a shoe-box in an attic in France sold for 16.2 million euros ($25.1 million) at auction in Paris!
The ultimate gift box
These beautiful handmade chests or cabinets (damchiyas) were originally designed to be used as a ‘bride’s dowry chest’ or ‘hope chest’ for unmarried girls to store
their clothing & household linen in readiness for marriage and for after the marriage storing the bride’s clothing. Traditionally from Rajasthan and Gujarat, each one is unique and bears the intricate craftsmanship of the local carpenters.
The style, now referred to as ‘Indo-European’, still echoes the Dutch, Portugese, French and British influence from the Age of Discovery with each piece containing its own story.
They can be used as they were originally intended to store valuables or to store eatables, paperwork and in some cases we’ve seen them converted for use as a unique base for a bathroom sink.
However you decide to showcase your Damchiya one thing is certain, it will always be a talking point and add value to any room.
At Milan Design Week this April, the world’s biggest design exhibition turned the spotlight on ancient traditions of basket making to elevate woven containers from places like South Africa. As well as textiles, ceramics, and other ancient traditions.
This week we unpacked our first African shipment in many, many months. You will find beautiful beads and beaded objects, baskets, masks, carved stools, figures, textiles, and woven furniture, that have a profound place in African culture.
There are small, unassuming beaded items which are representative of wealth and status, pride and beauty in Africa. Cherished by their forefathers, they have many cultural symbols and are used as currencies or for exchange purposes – but just as beautiful in the modern home. There are also Ghanaian recycled glass beads made using a traditional African process that has been used for centuries.
You will find baskets and trays as well as woven Malawi chairs and fishing net lights. Weaving has formed an integral part of African culture for thousands of years. The art of weaving has transformed communities, and these coveted skills have been passed down for generations.
Time-consuming and complex, each woven item has a story to tell, of long-standing African traditions. Using resources locally available, African tribes have been developing this art form with styles, patterns, and shapes unique to each community.
African tribes typically use four different weaving techniques, coiling, plaiting, twining, or checkerboard. Before the actual weaving can commence, plant fibers are cleaned, stripped, and sometimes dyed before being woven into their specific shapes and patterns. Basket and textile weaving techniques have evolved from an integral and practical part of the community to a highly expressive form of contemporary art.
Seek out baskets by the Batonga of Zimbabwe and Southern Zambia who are famous for their basket weaving skills as well as their geometric designs. An Ilala palm is woven into a characteristic square to begin and then radiates outwards to create dramatic patterns, traditionally in the shape of a spider web or lightning. The palm fibers are dyed with tree bark, and the baskets are finished with a distinctive herringbone pattern rim.
A basket of 30cm takes roughly two weeks to complete, and these winnowing baskets are used to separate the grain from the chaff. In an area prone to drought and poverty, Tonga women are the entrepreneurs of their villages, bringing much-needed additional income to their families.
There is also a new collection of Makenge baskets from Zambia, hand-woven from the roots of the Makenge bush, these baskets are traditionally used for thrashing wheat and are handed down to new brides from their mothers or in-laws to be passed down in the future to the next generation.
We also have the perfect Mother’s Day gifts that will make your mother’s day unforgettable. Find gifts for your mum, and all the women in your life – aunts, sisters, grandmothers, friends – that are unique and special, just like them.
Hurry in, we’d love to show you around. Our African shipment is one of our most anticipated arrivals of the year. And you’ll love our new Chinese container.
The most traditional things like baskets, porcelain, bowls and tribal jewellery take on a different look when displayed in new ways. Try hanging wicker trays on a wall, large to small. Displaying porcelain in a modern curiosity cabinet. Boom! They’re modern. (And still useful) Try our natural global Oriental artifacts against a deep, dark or neutral background. They’ll really stand out. Your collections well displayed will give your house soul.
Hang baskets off the kitchen ceiling or wall and use whenever you need them. Group items together in one place. Things become fascinating when there are lots of them. Or think of a wall covered in Indonesian tribal necklaces. A great conversation starter, that is truly, truly art. Don’t separate the pieces of your collection – keep them together. Hang them on the wall, line them along shelves, group them on a tabletop.
Start with a large low basket in the middle filled with a plant, and one of our popular hurricane metal shades in bronze finish. Then, build out from that with a mounted Buddha, tribal jewellery and some beads. Not only will they finish your table and room, they will also reflect your style.
Try creating more seating options with our new collection of stools like you’ve never seen before – Chinese porcelain drum stools, African tribal stools, Thai raindrums, rustic timber stools – which look good visually in a room, and offer plenty of options for all guests. They are also where you can eat, relax, read, entertain, put your feet up, and do a lot of your living. Or use them to do double-duty as side tables, piled with books, and places for drinks. Our stools even make perfect bedsides or look good as quick bathroom updates to stack piles of fluffy towels. Even try them as outdoor side tables. The décor possibilities are endless.
Lighten your rooms with our tactile new season baskets from Africa and Indonesia. They can dramatically alter a room on a bookcase, or on a dining table filled with foliage, or use them to smarten up your kitchen benchtop piled with utensils – to make everything relaxed and elegant for a fraction of the price of a major room overhaul.
THE SHOWROOM has never looked so exciting – it is brimming with new stock from all corners of the world, China, Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and most recently Bali. Four new shipments just-in – you’re sure to find something to change your interior dramatically. Hurry in today!
WITH 40% SAVINGS OFF ENTIRE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN COLLECTION, SELECTED RATTAN + LIGHTS – YOU CAN GET ALL!
DON’T MISS OUR BIGGEST EVER SUMMER SALE KICKING OFF TODAY WITH MAJOR SAVINGS ON EVERYTHING.
There’s savings storewide on beautiful new shipments from Indonesia, China, Africa, Thailand and Bali with hundreds of things to buy that will add lots of style and culture to your house.
Save from 20 to 40% on everything from stools (every kind imaginable) to timber dining tables, Tianjin cabinets, elm consoles, bedsides, side tables, mounted masks, African Makenge baskets, Indonesian bronze lanterns, carved mirrors, candle stands, woven wicker pendant lighting, rattan chairs and sofas, Baule masks, shields, bookcases, statuary, and much more.
You’ll find painted Shanxi cupboards and wonderful Indian buddhas, African Fang masks, Atta baskets, Indian marble bowls, fish trap woven lighting, Javanese benches, Sumatra tribal necklaces, and tribal artefacts galore like you see in major art galleries around the world, for a lot less than usual.
There’s great savings on our most-wanted pieces including really beautiful blue and white porcelain temple jars, cannisters, bowls, plates, and ancestral figures that always sell out quickly.
There’s Indigo mud cloth, cushions and throws and lotus marble bowls, in every shape and size imagineable. Find the best foo dogs, cane birdcages, Banyan stone torsos, rice measures, vintage grinders, Indian horse heads, porcelain bowls, old terracotta pots and trunks.
Snaffle our popular African and Chinese stools, and best-selling baskets, in all shapes, and sizes, from China, Africa, Thailand, Bali and Burma.
Ideal pieces to soften modern architecture, and create a more eclectic look of natural imperfection in interiors.
Hurry sale runs until January 27. You won’t be disappointed.
WANT TO GIVE YOUR HOUSE AN INSTANT EXPRESSION OF STYLE AND PERSONALITY THIS SUMMER AND CHRISTMAS? LOOK NO FURTHER THAN OUR NEW HOLIDAY SHIPMENT FROM INDONESIA WITH HUNDREDS OF ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC HANDCRAFTED PIECES, FRESH FROM INDONESIA, THAT WILL WOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY OVER THE MONTHS AHEAD.
Great news: We’ve restocked some of your all-time favourite pieces from baskets to lighting. Start with our chic collection of woven trays, laundry hampers, tissue boxes, waste paper bins, hanging pendant lights, cutlery trays and baskets in every shape and size imagineable. There are also beaded baskets, too (dark to pale), great for storage.
You will also discover gorgeous metal lanterns and pendant lighting with bronze finish that you won’t find anywhere else. Ideal for instantly transforming any space. Plus, there is a good selection of mounted tribal jewellery that are trending in interiors right now.
From East Timor there are profoundly beautiful sculptures, bronze figures,
(Buddhas to horses) as well as small timber stools in raw timber or black
ebony, and rustic teak outdoor sofas with canvas cushions. Even our popular
bleached teak root coffee tables that always make an instant impact in interiors.
From the Indonesian Archipelago there all kinds of small tables, chairs, cabinets,
mirrors, and huge timber bowls, as well as plenty of under $50 essentials that will win you style points.
Expect lots of natural materials: wicker, wood, rattan, that will make add warmth and character to any interior.
Be quick – the new collection is selling fast…we’d love to show you around. It’s also a great chance to see (and buy) our latest African, Chinese, and Thai pieces – big and small – which have been freshly merchandised – with something for everyone.
Oh, and be the first to check our exciting new website which we are hugely excited to launch this week. Besides the obvious makeover, it offers a better online shopping experience with a broader scope of our product and photographs to transform your house, garden and life.
We can’t wait for you to visit www.orienthouse.com.au here!
THE SOLD-OUT PIECES YOU WANTED ARE BACK, PLUS PIECES
AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN THEM BEFORE …
One of our most exciting African shipments, ever, has just-landed, with hundreds of pieces, newly sourced, in-store this week. Classic, distinctive and versatile finds, there’s boundless inspiration with lots of beautiful, handcrafted, original basketware, masks, textiles, stools and side tables to complete your rooms and add a layer of personality. They are pieces to make you happy.
Start with our huge range of stools including Lozi stomper stools (choose from natural, white or stripes), plus Australia’s biggest range of Bamileke stools, (black, white or natural), as well as original Malawi chairs, (white, natural or black). Also, find tribal masks aplenty from the Central and West Coast of Africa to suit all styles and settings. As well as a good selection of Mali mud cloths in beautiful black and white combintations as well as ochre prints.
There’s a massive new shipment of beautiful African basketware, (new and old). Seek out our Mekange, Tonga and Buhera woven trays, planters, bowls and bins (all shapes and sizes) from Zimbabwe, Zambia and beyond, from $35. Take a look at our new collection of exciting contemporary basket one-offs in white matte finish and big round trays that look excellent grouped en masse on walls. A great alternative to art – and more affordable, too.
Plus, there’s a all kinds of side tables, carved timber mirrors, lamps, woven light pendants, tribal carved posts, Tuareg stacking bowls, patinated timber bowls, Namji beaded dolls, and many other distinctive pieces that will add texture and personality to your home.
Each piece is hand picked based on our ethos of simplicity, authenticity and adventure. Most items are made using raw materials like wood, rattan or clay that are unobtrusive, look natural and rustic, so won’t disturb the architecture of your house – plus they have a texture and patina that are great to look at and live with. These natural finishes add authenticity to a space – so make everything else look right.
Come and visit as soon as you can – you’re sure to find what you’re looking for to refresh your interior for the summer months and holiday season ahead. Also, great gifts for everyone on your Christmas list.