One of the most common images in antique Asian statuary is the Buddha. With his serene face and relaxed yogic poses, a Buddha statue is intended to bring calmness and peace to everyone who encounters it.

Like most Buddhist art, such religious statues are designed to remind Buddha's followers of eternal truths. For example, the earliest images of Buddha showed him with a pair of Bodhisattvas, enlightened beings who became popular sculptural figures in their own right. These virtuous, generous souls, having stored up a tremendous amount of karma, are on their paths to being Buddhas.

Ancient Buddha statues often show him supported by lions. Buddhist mythology also tells of lions, thought to have magical powers of protection, which is why lion statues can often be found guarding temples. Since the ancient Chinese had never seen a real lion, it is believed they modeled their guardian lion statues after native dogs, such the Chow Chow. Commonly placed outside offices, temples, and businesses, these sculptures came to be known as Foo Dogs, or Fu Dogs.

Another popular motif is the Chinese ruyi, an abstract object, rumored to be an early back-scratcher, with a cloud-like head and S-shaped tail. The ruyi, elaborately carved and often made of expensive materials such as jade, is thought to bring power, leadership, and wealth.

For thousands of years, Chinese artisans have been carving jade, a precious stone believed to link the physical and spiritual realms. Jade has been turned into every object under the sun, including legendary figures, flora, fauna, landscapes, celestial bodies, mythological creatures, religious icons, and symbols of good fortune. The Japanese, meanwhile, became known for the skills in metal, which they routinely applied to statues.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique 19thc Meiji Period Signed Japanese 2-color Bronze Sculpture Hawk, NrAntique Tibetan Or Chinese Bronze Of A Seated Buddha, Beautiful Qing Piece, RareAntique 18thc Chinese Qing Blanc De Chine Famille Rose Porcelain Guanyin FigureFine Antique Chinese Bronze Guandi StatueAntique Chinese Carved Bamboo Statue Of A Guanyin, 19th Century Piece. Fine RareFine Old Thai Carved Quartz Sitting Gautama Buddha Statue SculptureChinese Carved Cow Bone Clam Statue.Antique Chinese Carved Jade Statue Or Pendant Of A Crane Mouted With Silver RareChinese Kangxi Period Famille Verte Biscuit Glazed Guanyin & Acolytes GroupFine! Antique Chinese Kangxi (1662-1722) Imperial Figures Porcelain Tea Caddy*1265 Japanese Edo Meiji Taisho Antique Tsuge Wood Netsuke "sennin" StatueAntique Chinese Carved Amethyst Buddha And Jade Animal, Republic Period Pieces.Large Antique C1700 Qing Kangxi Chinese Blanc De Chine Porcelain Guanyin & ChildAntique Chinese Carved Cantonese Superb Rise Fan With Figures, Superb Qing PieceFine 16/17thc Antique Chinese Ming Wanli Blue & White Figure Porcelain Ovoid JarSuperb Antique 17thc Ming / Qing Chinese Blanc De Chine Dehua Porcelain GuanyinOld Chinese Carved Cow Bone Figure-- Signed On Base--chess Piece?Superb Large Antique 18/19thc Chinese Qing Huanghuali Shoulao Sculpture FigureAntique Japanese Netsuke Of A Reclining Buddha In A Boat. Meiji Or Edo SignedLarge Rare Antique 19thc Chinese Qing Famille Rose Polychrome Porcelain FigureCirca 14th Century Chinese Yuan Bronze Seated Buddha*1270 Japanese Edo Antique Tsuge Wood Karakuri Netsuke "lotus" StatueFine 19th Century Thai Bronze Standing Buddha With Flowing RobesChinese Lacquer On Wood Buddha & Stand C.1900Antique Chinese Carved Cantonese Superb Horn, Landscape, Figures, Qing Dynasty.Hk Japanese Antique Buddhist Jizo Bosatsu Guardian Statue Wood Zushi Shrine NrAntique C 1920 Deco 18k Gold Jade Jadeite Chinese Export Buddha Necklace PendantJapanese Antique Muromachi Crystal Eyes Wood Buddhist Statue Temple Gold FoilAn Antique Signed Cold Painted India Arabic Weighted Bronze Statue Hookah PipeAntique Chinese 20thcentury Carved White & Green Jade/jadeite Figures Fu Lu ShouRare Pair Antique 18thc Chinese Qing Turquoise Glaze Porcelain Xiezhi FiguresJapanese H: 50cm 19.7" Buddhist Miroku Bosatsu Wood Statue Smile Buddha Hotei Antique Thai Or Chinese Superb Black Stone Carved Buddha, Very Fine Quality.Antique Chinese Gilt-copper Enameled Statue Of Lohan (cloisonné)A Set Of Chinese Antique Export Sterling Silver Figure Barrel & Card Case MarkedVery Fine Antique 19thc Chinese Qing Famille Rose Porcelain Boy Figure #1Vintage Asian, Japanese ? Cast Bronze Statue, Child And Basket, Detailed 13"h NrAntique Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Square Form Brush Pot With FiguresJapanese Vtg Buddhist Goddess Kannon Standing Statue Wood Zushi Shrine Buddha Vintage Japanese Figure Okimono Wood Carving Statue Of Mother & ChildAntique 19thc Chinese Qing Famille Rose Porcelain Candleholder Figure Lamp BaseVery Fine Antique 19thc Chinese Qing Famille Rose Porcelain Boy Figure #2Chinese Lacquer On Wood Figure Shou Lao C.1900Japanese Antique Buddhist Goddess Jibo Kannon Statue Wood Zushi Shrine Buddha Antique Chinese 19thc Beautifully Carved Ancient Life Statue On Rosewood StandRare Antique Chinese Ming Hardwood Carved Guanyin & Child Polychromed SculptureQing Daoguang Guangxu 2 Historical Figure Famille Rose Side Plates Warriors Yqz19thc Chinese Daoguang Mark & Period Bowl With Famille Rose Wu Shuang Pu FiguresFine Antique Chinese Carved Wood & Cow Bone Figure Man & Child With Fish 31cmSuperb Chinese Carved Boxwood Figure Of Laughing Man, First Half Of 20th CenturyUnusual Rare Antique 19thc Chinese Qing Famille Rose Polychrome Porcelain FigureRare Antique Chinese Scholars Travelling Buddha Shrine Calligraphic Diety Nr Thai / Burmese Bronze Seated Buddha, Engraved Inscription, 17th / 18th CenturyAn Antique Chinese Foochow Lacquer Figure Of A Fisherman.*1264 Japanese Edo Antique Tsuge Wood Netsuke "sennin" StatueFine Old Nepalese Tibetan Buddhist Bronze Tara Bodhisattva Buddha SculptureAntique Chinese Cantonese Carved Card Case Fine Figural Scenes For Restoration Good Antique Chinese Shoushan Soapstone Figural Carving On Fitted Hardwood StandVintage 20th Century Chinese Cultural Revolution Wood Figure Of Lady With FanWonderful Chinese Carved Boxwood Figure, Man Holding A Folded Case, Early 20thc