Happy Chinese New Year!

It is no secret that my design aesthetic often includes Asian and Indian inspired designs filled with antiques and beautiful carved, painted and lacquered furniture.  It is fascinating to learn not only about the history of these pieces, but also the culture of the vendors and tradespeople I work with from day to day.  I recently purchased a beautiful Chinese coffer for a client and wanted to send it to my refinisher to have it clear lacquer coated to protect the original finish from the elements created by the modern family it was going to.

I received a response that he is a traditional lion dancer and is therefore in great demand during the new year festivities and my refinishing needs would have to wait.  This seemed funny to me until I realized the importance of the holiday and how significant his role was.  The Chinese new year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday.  In China, it is known as the spring festival, since the Spring begins at the beginning of the Chinese calendar year.  The new year is celebrated with similar excitement and fanfare to Christmas in America, with families and friends gathering to celebrate, exchanging gifts, having delicious feasts and decorating their homes and communities with bright, colorful decorations. Many Chinese also do a thorough cleaning of their homes to help wash away any ill fortune and make room for luck and good fortune.   The lion dance is performed by a person or people in a costume resembling a lion.  The dance is comprised of many movements similar to that of a lion.  This is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the dragon dance.

An example of the decorative lion dance costumes used in traditional parades and Chinese festivities.