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    

Museum Quality 18c Chinese Qianlong Imperial Carved White Jade Ram Figure GroupVery Fine 19thc Chinese Qing Carved Turquoise Stone Imperial Boys Figure CarvingExceptional 17/18thc Chinese White Yellow Jade Beast Figure Erik Hancock Coll.Chinese Carved Natural Orange Coral Cockerel Rooster Bird Figure Silver StandVry Fine Chinese Lapis Lazuli Stone Figural Scenic Scholars Boulder Silver StandLarg Chinese Ming Qing Dynasty Carved Jade Fish Figure Plaque With Fitted StandVery Fine 18/19thc Chinese Famille Verte Imperial Figures Brush Pot BitongPair Fine 19thc Chinese Signed Kangxi Double Gourd Figural Lotus Mirror Vases Great 19thc Chinese Famille Rose Turquoise Enamel Porcelain Fu Lion Dog FigureVeryfine Chinese Natural White Apple Green Jadeite Imperial Guanyin Lotus FigureFine 19thc Chinese Carved Chalcedony Agate Bird Figural Scholars Water Pot BowlSuperb Chinese Natural White Lavender Jade Jadeite Imperial Maiden Boy FigureGreat Chinese Carved Jade Recumbent Water Buffalo Ox Figure Scroll WeightC1900 Chinese Carved Soapstone Sleeping Imperial Buddha Scholar FigureLarge 18thc Chinese Qianlong Famille Rose Figure Riding Cart Scenic Punch BowlVery Fine Chinese Ming Qing Carved White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant W StandVery Fine Chinese Ming Qing Dynasty White Jade Qilin Dragon Figure Pendant A Large/beautiful Chinese 18c Famille Verte Figural Beaker Cup-kangxiVery Fine 19c Chinese Carved Natural Hetian Pure White Jade Imperial Boy FigureVery Fine 18/19thc Chinese Carved White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant PlaqueVery Fine Chinese Natural Celadon Jade & 14k Gold Horse Figure Beaded NecklaceFine Rare 16/17c Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Jade Imperial Horse Figure PendantSuperb Rare Chinese Song / Ming Dynasty Carved White Yellow Jade Mouse FigureVery Fine Antique Chinese Carved White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant From Museum Very Fine Chinese Qing Dynasty Famille Verte Imperial Figures Porcelain BowlAmazing 18/19thc Chinese Carved Natural White Jade Elephant Figural PendantLarge Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Jadeite Bird Figure Scenic GroupAntique Japanese Aritisan Signed Bronze Lion Okimono Statue A Stunning Pair Of 19c. Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Figural Hexagonal Vases3 Fine Chinese Carved Jade Stone Imperial Musician Figures Lot TwoAntique, Carved Cow Bone Figure, Bonsai Grower, The Final Cutting.Large Signed 19thc Chinese Famille Rose Happy Lucky Porcelain Buddha FigureVery Rare Chinese Emerald Green Chrysoprase Agate Imperial Guanyin Boy FigureVery Fine Chinese Carved White Green Jade Jadeite Imperial Maiden FigureFine Chinese Carved Lapis Lazuli Blue Stone Imperial Maiden Figure A Beautiful Chinese Porcelain Jar And Cover With Figures Kangxi PeriodNice Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Jade Mouse Animal Figure Pendant3 Fine Chinese Carved Jade Stone Imperial Musician Figures Lot Three2 Signed Chinese Famille Rose Enamel Imperial Scholar Emperor Porcelain FiguresVery Fine Chinese Carved Jade Stone Double Bird Figures On Perch Fine Wood StandEstate Lot Chinese Carved Jade Stone Censer Belt Hook Wine Cups Lohan FigureEstate Lot 3 Early Chinese Ming Dynasty Blue White Figural Landscape Plates Rare Antique Bronze Hindu Solar God Surya. Radiance Fire Power LifeMeiji Cow Bone Okimono Japanese Chinese Figure No Reserve19thc Antique Oriental Buddhist Fane Deity Mahakala Wood Carved Relic Old StatueVfine 17/18c Signed Chinese Blanc De Chine Dehua White Porcelain Guanyin FiguresUnusual Chinese Song Ming Dynasty Red Black Jade Beast Figure Pendant Fine 19thc Chinese Carved Natural Celadon Jade Fu Lion Dog Figure PendantLarge & Rare Antique Asian Thai Khmer Bronze Buddha Ngung Statue. Wow Fantastic!Buddha: Antique Dvaravati Vitarka Mudra,thailand, Bronze, 1500's, 12.5" TallFine Old Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Tea Pot Carving Sculpture Scholar #101Antique Bronzed Buddha Oriental Style Buddhist Icon Sculpture Old Deity StatueGreat Pair Chinese Carved Jade Stone Buddhist Fu Lion Dog Figures W Stands Buddha Series - Large Chinese Qing Dynasty Bronze Buddha Statue Marked Lc237Very Fine Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Black Jade Dragon Figural Sword FittingGreat 18/19thc Chinese Blanc De Chine Dehua Porcelain Ox Water Buffalo FigureVery Large Antique 19thc Japanese Edo Meiji Banko Okimono Male Fisherman FigureVery Fine Chinese Ming Dynasty White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant Fine 19thc Chinese Carved White Jade Imperial Boy Figure PendantA Very Unusual 19/20c Chinese Fine Quality Carved White Jade Buddha Pendant Rare