Latest arrivals in our showroom, despatches from our travelling buyers, decorating tips and more.
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The local craftspeople of Africa have perfected the art of basket making over centuries of necessity.
From the huts they live in, boats they fish in and traps they use to catch food, to all the smaller pieces like baskets, bowls, trays, mats, containers, strainers, hats and so on.
African baskets can be porous or watertight, flexible or rigid. The use of baskets, the materials available to make them, the skill and family tradition handed down over generations makes each piece wholly unique and identifiable down to the actual village, in some cases even family that created them.
As well as the infinite designs and many materials used to make these beautiful pieces there are several weaving methods that most African weavers utilise.
Coiling, plaiting, braiding, twining and weaving are all employed by these local artisans based on what material is available and what the piece is to be used for.
Every African community has a ‘master weaver’ who pass on their skills to the younger aspiring generation of weavers. The young weavers sit with the ‘master weaver’ or older relative and learn directly the ancient craft of basketry starting with sewing the bottom of the basket while the older relative builds up the sides giving it the unique shape and strength. They learn how to keep the weave consistent, how to design complex patterns, create unusual shapes and how to use different materials to create truly unique pieces.
This intimate way of working often gives objects a particular meaningfulness and evokes strong memories of loved ones which helps link generations.
African women are amongst the hardest working women in the world. They are guardians of their children’s welfare and have definitive responsibility to provide for them materially. They are the household managers, providing food, nutrition, water, health, education, and so much more than many other women in the developing world.
Basket weaving provides employment opportunities for these women and has contributed to many of them becoming the breadwinner of the family. Many non- profit groups are helping rural women practice their art whilst making a living. This is helping the balance of gender equality as well as providing a living for their families.
At Orient House we work as hard as we can to ensure that we trade with socially ethical partners and individuals and that all of our pieces are sourced from sustainable materials to assist developing nations. So many traditional art forms are disappearing as consumers rush to buy the ‘latest’ trends which are often discarded almost as quickly as they were purchased.
We think it’s way beyond time to go back and revive some old traditions and provide a source of livelihood to those who need our support around the world whilst adding some beautiful handmade fascination to your home.
If there is one good thing to come out of this lock down it’s that many of us have more time to reflect on the people around us and our surroundings.
To truly value art and the aesthetics of our lives we need time. Time to appreciate the finer things in life. Friends, family, food, wine and art.
Use this time to take stock and create a space around yourself that you are truly happy in. And once we all come out of this unusual time, and we will, you will have used the isolation to build yourself a better place both physically and mentally.
With over 2 million temples, 1000 forts and 80 royal palaces India’s historical buildings are as numerous as they are beautiful. Complementing the unique architecture are handmade statues and sculptures,
hand forged copper pots, brass plates, meticulously hand carved garden gates, screens and stunning damchiyas or sideboards.
India’s craftspeople have been creating exquisite items for centuries and not just for the palaces and temples. With most people unable to own or live in a palace the locals would furnish their humble homes with similar items to create their own private palace within.
Our latest shipment from Rajasthan has some truly delightful vintage artifacts and furniture from and around the city of Jaipur with the unveiling taking place this week at our showroom in Glebe, just in time for Mother’s Day.
All our staff are following the safe distancing protocols currently in place and as some of you already know our showroom is spacious and airy.
Just as it is in Australia, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the same day in India.
So in the spirit of unleashing your creativity why not pop in to our showroom and find a gift that she’ll remember long after the flowers or chocolates are gone.
Of course, our treasures extend far beyond the borders of India with corals from Bali, beaded animal figurines from Cameroon, bronze buddhas from Thailand, glass bead necklaces from Ghana and so much more.
And to make it even easier in these social distancing times we’re offering FREE DELIVERY*.
At Orient House we understand the need to be vigilant in these unprecedented times and have taken every precaution to follow ALL GOVERNMENT AND MEDICAL advice regarding the health of our valued customers and staff, so for us it’s business as usual.
So if you feel the need to get out for a change of scenery and would like to appreciate some of the finer things in life rest assured that we’ve got everything in place to make your visit safe, pleasant and as usual… inspiring
Our latest trip to Indonesia provided us with more than just beautiful hand crafted items, furniture and vintage home decor pieces. Each piece comes with its own unique story. From the rustic reclaimed multi coloured wall units with their stressed brushed finish to the wood fired kiln bronze cast Goddess Shiva.
The carefully hand-stitched cowhide and cowhide stools each with its own individual markings and the gnarly hand polished teak root coffee tables and petrified wood stools have all been artistically up-cycled to give your home a truly unique talking piece.
Imagine having a petrified wood stool or side table in your living room that has been formed over millions of years, some pieces pre-dating the dinosaurs. These days most mass produced furniture pieces are on the council clean-up kerbside within in a couple of years just adding to the over-burdened landfill and depleting the planet’s dwindling resources.
Fortunately, big corporations are being forced to look closer at the way they manufacture their products and the way in which they treat their suppliers. Consumers are a lot more aware of how products can have an effect on various issues, from sustainability practices to the effects of pollution on the planet and its people.
The livelihoods of the locals and small businesses hang by a thread as they strive to keep the traditional skills and crafts alive to support themselves and their small communities.
We’ve always ensured that our Indonesian and Balinese furniture, objet d’art and home decor items always have a positive impact on the local people and that sustainable practices are used when sourcing the materials.
Artists, craftsmen and skilled workers typically strive to make a piece of work that they are proud of. It’s in their nature to create something special and unique as that is where the value is.
Handcrafted products are always scrutinised by their maker far more often than the mass produced high turnaround products churned out by large companies.
As well as their inherent beauty, it’s the stories surrounding these pieces that brings character, charm and personality to a room, turning an ordinary space into an extraordinary home.
We’ve just received a new shipment of Chinese antique and vintage furniture, ceramics, decor and homewares, including some lovely Shanxi pieces, blue and white porcelain temple jars, tofu pots, candle cages and much much more!
Come in to our showroom in Glebe, or add any item you see on our showroom page to your wishlist and we’ll contact you about availability.
Lords a-leaping, ladies dancing, geese a-laying
OUR AFRICAN SHIPMENT HAS ARRIVED JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
With the holiday season fast approaching we’ve ensured our latest shipment from Africa has a plethora of hand-crafted, original artifacts to help bring a touch of Tanzania, a splash of Sudan or a little Malawi magic to your space.
African decor and furniture have recently become the flavour of the month for their uniqueness. Being so close to Asia you often see more Asian-styled items and decor in Australia, but Africa is a largely untapped resource of stunning craftsmanship and originality from the bold abstract carvings of people and animals to the natural sustainably sourced ostrich eggs, feathers and elephant hair bracelets.
This shipment is perfectly timed for you to be able to find a truly unique gift for someone special, yourself or better still… both.
DRESSING UP IN COSTUME, BEARING GIFTS AND BRINGING JOY TO THE WORLD.
Since the dawn of time all across the African continent masks have been worn to celebrate life, religious occasions, initiations, peace, the seasons, harvest times and
new beginnings. Santa Claus does not have a monopoly on colourful costumes and good will to all.
As well as all the good stuff, the masks were used to control the evil forces in the community. When the chosen person is selected to wear and perform with the masks and costumes they come to life, possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance, and are enhanced by both the music and atmosphere of the occasion.
The masks can represent spirits, ancestors and animals. The latter being a powerful way to unite man with his natural environment, something which the African people throughout the ages have always embraced and expressed much like the indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia.
Don’t miss out on our latest shipment from Africa. You may even find five gold rings, four calling birds. three french hens and a partridge in a pear tree.
Seasons greetings and a happy New Year to you all.
Doors open Mon–Fri: 9.00am – 5.00pm, Sat: 10.00am – 5.00pm, Sun: 12.00am – 4.00pm.
Please be advised that will be closed on the following dates:
25th December Christmas Day • 26th Boxing Day • 31st December • 1st January
The Return of Rajasthan
In India, doorways are often associated with cultural identity and new beginnings and what better time of the year to think about both. With such a melting pot of cultures in Australia it’s always nice to witness the various ways that we all celebrate the holiday season and adorn our living spaces with our own native decorations, antiques and traditional furnishings.
Rajasthan, which translated means the ‘Land of Kings’ has more historic palaces, royal gardens and hilltop forts than any other province in India. The proud kings and Rajput warriors of Rajasthan were renowned for their opulence and would show off their wealth and power by building large palaces and forts to ‘protect’ the region and fill them with hand-crafted, highly ornate furniture, fixtures and fittings.
However, the kings for the most part had good relationships with each other which meant that the vast majority of palaces and forts were never attacked or destroyed and so much of the contents remained intact and preserved for centuries.
The craftsmen of the region that worked and carved the vintage furniture, artifacts and decorative items were, through time, influenced by the Dutch, Portuguese and later English occupation and so many of the items can be traced back or recognised by their design features and embellishments.
With a smorgasbord of art, incredible cuisine, culture, colour, extraordinary attractions and festivals Rajasthan is the perfect region to express the celebration of the holiday season and introduction of a new year.
With this months’ arrival at Orient House of stunning Indian antiques including ornate rustic doors, carved windows, unique vintage furniture, tribal artifacts, handcrafted decorative items, lighting and textiles you’ll find plenty of inspiration to help create your very own Rajasthan palace.
Furniture, homewares & artefacts from Bali & Indonesia
Artfully presented in displays that showcase their unique style and charm and demonstrate how natural materials like the highly textural rattan, rich copper, dark teak, green bronze, gnarly Suar root, rustic whitewash terracotta, fossilized polished stones and natural sun bleached shells all complement each other to create a truly balanced and harmonious space.
From Bali and the surrounding islands of the Indonesian archipelago we have sourced the finest reclaimed furniture, most unique hand-crafted pieces and unusual collectibles and brought them together in one place to make it easier for you to find and create your own Indonesian space.
WANT A TALKING PIECE FOR YOUR SPACE?
How about an eight armed, three eyed, tiger riding goddess?
The Goddess Durga or Mother Durga is known as “the one who eliminates sufferings” in Hindu teachings. With eight arms each holding a weapon, object of
power or simply assuming ‘mudras’, (a hand gesture that represents her teachings), she is like the Swiss Army knife of goddesses. She protects her followers from evil, more notably ‘Mahishasura’ the buffalo demon in Hindu mythology.
As if that wasn’t enough she also rides a lion or tiger which represents power, but also qualities like greed, anger, arrogance, selfishness, jealousy and the desire to harm others and by sitting on and controlling it she reminds us that we need to control these qualities, so that we in turn are not controlled by them.
Oh, but wait, there’s more, she’s also got a third eye which gives her infinite knowledge and wisdom. Simply put, the Goddess Durga is very powerful indeed so it would pay to stay on her good side.
Of course, as well as the Goddess Durga statuette we have a mélange of Buddha’s, Brahma’s, Vishnu’s and Shiva’s all with their very own unique stories
New shipment of Chinese antiques coming soon
We have finally returned after a long slow tour scouring rural China to source the most unusual hand carved antiquities and furniture made the traditional time honoured way by the local craftsmen.
Deliberately taking our time to explore the hard to reach places and immersing ourselves into the local culture to ensure that the pieces we return with are truly unique and genuine.
we often target pre-owned pieces that can be expertly restored at our workshop and slowly brought back to their original former glory. This stunning sideboard showcases perfectly how the buyers are able to see potential where others can’t:
Most of the pieces are vintage or made from reclaimed solid timber which brings with it all the character of real wood, the unique grain, colours and often distinctive worn edges and imperfections, so you know that each piece has a story and is steeped in history.
All of our antique Chinese furniture is made primarily from sustainable resources and more importantly made to last. From beautiful slow hand-crafted sideboards and wardrobes with hand carved fascias and trim to the more rustic pre-loved workers stools with real charm. You’ll never see these on the council kerbside cleanout.
The Art of the Brush
Chinese calligraphy dates back centuries and is so much more than just letters and words. It is an art form that requires the artist to express their feelings and use motion to create the thousands of different flourishes and combination of strokes which make up the Chinese characters.
Chinese calligraphy and ink & wash painting are very similar in that they both use similar tools and techniques and have a long history of shared artistry.
Our individually hand selected range of original hand carved calligraphy and ink & wash brushes are made exactly the same way as the ones that were used to decorate the vases, ornaments, vanity screens and furnishings of ancient China.
These beautiful brushes are collectible artifacts in their own right. Historically carved from bamboo, redwood, local stone, marble, animal horn and embellished with ceramics they are made with a variety of animal hair primarily white goat hair, black rabbit hair, yellow weasel hair or sometimes a mix depending on the desired brush stroke. These types of brushes known as Húbi have been prized since the Ming dynasty.
Some early period smaller brushes were made with the hair of the first haircut of an infant for good prosperity, but these rare and personal brushes are today more often kept in the family as keepsakes.