Latest arrivals in our showroom, despatches from our travelling buyers, decorating tips and more.
Sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page to be first to hear of new arrivals!
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.
As with all Turkish craft-wares the baskets and bowls are handcrafted the traditional way with skills handed down from one generation to another.
So the baskets, bowls and chattels (household items) are still all made exactly the same way as they were centuries ago.
In fact, the earliest reliable evidence for basketry craftsmanship in the Middle East comes from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic phases of Çatalhöyük (Southern Anatolia). Being made from perishable material no actual basketry remains were recovered, but the impressions on floor surfaces and on fragments of bitumen suggest that basketry objects were used for storage and architectural purposes.
If today’s food storage vessels were made the same way we wouldn’t have a planet suffocating on plastic waste.
Pop in to our showroom today and pick up some beautiful hand-made baskets and bowls to store fruit, vegetables, firewood, flowers and more to bring some authentic Turkish natural storage solutions in to your home
Turkish pottery and ceramic craftsmanship dates back centuries. In fact, recently a huge 2,000 year old terracotta Turkish pot was accidentally unearthed by a farmer while watering plants in his garden in the Doğanşehir district, this dates it back to the Roman era.
Our pots are unlikely to date back that far, but some are between 75-150 years old and made just as they were back in the Roman era and equally impressive in appearance.
Virtually every village in Anatolia (modern day Turkey) had a workshop with a master potter producing beautiful pots and pitchers. Much like Turkish carpets each pot contains a story with unique skills and individual touches added to every pot and pitcher.
And because the local soil and material was used to make the pots and pitchers they literally are part of the landscape.
Originally designed to hold wine, olives, olive oil, grains, etc., today they make stunning centrepieces for gardens, living rooms, hallways and commercial spaces or whatever your landscape is.
For centuries Turkish carpets have been a symbol of status and quality; and for very good reason.
A highly prized traditional naturally dyed 100% hand-made carpet can take months and sometimes years to complete. Primarily used to turn any floor into a centrepiece some people use them as wall features, works of art in their own right.
All Turkish carpets have hidden stories woven into them. Anatolian women used traditional patterns, dyes and motifs to tell their personal stories and express the qualities and history of the region.
A wool rug is a much more affordable alternative to pure silk and each rug still comes with the history and uniqueness of its region and its maker.
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.