Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Art Made New - Joss Stick Sculpture

The newest addition to my Christmas Collection - an angel fashioned after a Chinese goddess:

The newest "must-have" among ex-pat families is a Nativity Set made by the Joss Stick Man.

Joss Sticks are the incense sticks burned at altars in Asian religions.  Everyone knows the usual thin sticks, but here in Singapore they have jumbo-size ones used for festivals that can burn for days.  Creating these from the wood of cinnamon trees (cinnamon sticks used for flavor are from the bark of the tree) is an old art form, quickly dying in the digital age.
My friend and I found the shop in an industrial area, amid tire stores, steel fabricators and electrical supply stores.  It is a small, old, not-so-tidy place where the owner and 2 employees form the "dough" into amazing art objects.

Here are the basic forms, drying for several days:

which then are painted in florescent colors:

I remember Christmas ornaments made by them in the past, but in the past few years they have expanded their Christmas collection to include the creche, nativity characters, and gingerbread houses:

Here are my "older" pieces, gifts from when we were living here in 1999...they still look like new:

Merry Christmas!!

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