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    

Amazing Large Chinese Red Coral Sculpture Ca. 1900 Birds 218-gramAntique Chinese Carved Momo Red Coral Figure Of Lady Holding Flowers, 162gAntique Chinese 19th /20th Century Carved Celadon Jade Boy, Peach & Boy FigureVintage Chinese Hand Carved Tusk Immortal Buddha Cow Bone Horn Wood StandAntique Quality Chinese Carved Teakwood & Marble Pedestal Table For Statue, LampFine Lrg 14.75" 19th C Chinese Famille Verte Figures Pomegranate Peaches ChargerPerfect Rare Chinese Porcelain Colored Jar 18th C. Yongzheng Figures 19cmVtg Antique Lot Asian Chinese ? Sterling? Silver Sm Pendants Bells Figural Etc14.5" 18thc Chinese Porcelain Blue & White Figures Mandarin Famille Rose PlatterRare Important Antique Chinese He Chaozong Dehua Blanc-de-chine Figure ChinaStunning Intact Ancient Indus Valley Painted Terracotta Pottery Urn - 3500 BcVtg Chinese Export Sterling Silver Filigree Enamel Pheasant Bird Figurine W JadeLarge Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Seated Buddha W 5 BoysAntique Chinese Ming Green Glazed Terracotta Pottery Court Figure - 1368 AdAntique Chinese Carved Wood Seated Figure Of Guanyin Polychrome Song DynastySuperb Large 13.5" 19thc Chinese Porcelain Blue & White Figures Toad Punch BowlLarge Antique 18th / 19thc Sino - Tibetan Bronze Tara Figure In LalitasanaAntique Chinese Dehua Blanc-de-chine Porcelain Figure Of Guanyin, 19thcAncient Greek - Roman Gandharan Stucco Head Sculpture - 300 AdAntique Chinese Fine Large Carved Laughing Buddha Huanghuali Zitan Prayer BeadsAntique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Wash Basin Painted W Figures & FlowersVery Rare Ancient Chinese Jin Pottery Figure Of A Warrior - 300 AdAntique Chinese Carved Cherry Amber Bakelite Kwan Yin Guanyin Phoenix RepublicAntique Chinese Hand Carved Old Man Agate Statue.Chinese Natural Turquoise Stone Carved Figure On StandAntique Chinese Hand Carved Camel Statue With Wood Stand.Antique Chinese Buffalo Carving Jade Statue.Great Vintage Japanese Bronze Pair Carp Koi Statue Artist Signed NobumitsuAntique Chinese Gilt Bronze Figure Buddha Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva LiaoVery Rare Ancient Chinese Song / Yuan Dynasty Pottery Figure - 960 AdAn Antique Chinese Finely Carved Figure Of A Maiden On A Rosewood Base. Qing.Fine Old Pair Antique Chinese Carved Wood Gold Gilt Lion Dog StatuesAntique Thai Gold Gilt Bronze BuddhaBronze Amida Amitayus Great Buddha Buddhist Statue Kamakura Zen Meditation YqzAntique Thai Bronze Buddha Statue Thailand พระพุทธรูป สำริด โบราณ ไทย รูปปั้น ปร3x 19thc Chinese Porcelain Miniature Canton Figure And Blue & White VasesA Chinese Buffalo Horn Carvings Figure Of Kwan-yin StatueJapanese Monkey Carved Asian Netsuke Figurine SignedChinese Export Sterling Silver Filigree Enamel Pheasant Bird Jade Base FigurineFine Carved Chinese Light Green Jade Figure Of Guanyin & Wood StandAntique Chinese Embroidered Silk Robe 19th Century Figural BordersJapanese Antique Buddhist Statue Edo Temple Gold Foil Leaves Samurai OkimonoFine Antique Chinese Sancai Porcelain Warrior Turtle Dragon Wall Plaque Statue 1Antique Chinese 19th Century Tongzhi Famille Rose Bowl With Warriors FiguresAntique Silver Burmese Buddhist Chalice Buddha Chinese Hallmarks Altar BowlEarly 19th C. Tibeto-chinese Thangka Of BuddhaFine Lot: Chinese Coral Lady Sculpture + Rabbit Ca. 1900Fine Antique Chinese Sancai Porcelain Warrior Stag Deer Wall Plaque Statue 2Fine Old Chinese Carved Hard Wood Double Dragon Table Stand Porcelain Or BuddhaChinese Jadeite Carved Figure Of Lady On StandLacquered Gilt Ducks Married Couple Wedding Symbol Wood Sculpture Joseon YqzAntique Chinese 20th Century Carved Pale Celadon Jade Sage & Bat Pebble FigureNice Chinese Coral Lady Sculpture Ca. 1900 - 12cmAntique Turkish Ottoman Canakkale Pottery Glazed Camel Ewer Figure Islamic C19thPair Of Antique Chinese Hand Carved Jade Jadite Foo Dogs Statues.Exquisite Fine Detail Chinese Antique Soapstone Carving Buddha With Lion Fine Old Chinese 24k Gold Scholars Table Nugget Pebble On Wood Stand SculptureJapanese Camel Carved Asian Netsuke Figurine Signed Fine Chinese Coral Sculpture Lady + Flower-basket Ca. 1900An Unusual Old Tang Sancai-glazed Pottery Figure Of Lion