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    

Fine Old Chinese Carved Shell Mother Of Pearl Carving W/ Stand Sculpture ScholarAntique Tibetan Buddhist Carved Dung-dkar Conch Shell Horn, Begtse God Of WarFine 19th C Chinese Mother Of Pearl Deeply Carved Figures Buffalo Shell - 2Fine Old Chinese 19th Century Carved Jade Buckle Belt Plaque Carving Sculpture Fine Old Chinese Carved Shell Mother Of Pearl Carving W/ Stand Sculpture ArtFine 19th C Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Figures Calligraphy Teabowl & SaucerStunning Chinese Solid Silver Gilt & Cloisonne Enamel Phoenix Statue C.1950Fine 19th C Chinese Mother Of Pearl Carved Figures Shell - 1Fine Antique Chinese Jade Buddha Figure On Carved Wood StandFine Old Japanese Meiji Edo Period Gold Gilt Buddha Shrine Wood Carving ArtAntique Chinese White Russet Jade Carved Plaque Brooch Buddha Bird 19th CenturyFine Antique Bronze Bhaisajyaguru, Medicine Buddha Nepal Manji Qing DynastyFine Old Chinese Pair Carved Jade Foo Dogs Carving Sculpture Scholar ArtFine Old Chinese Carved Jade Pendant Carving Sculpture Jewelry Scholar ArtFine Old Chinese Carved Wood Stand Display Carving Sculpture Scholar Art #5Antique 20th C Chinese Carved Wood Figure Man With 2 Fish Cow Bone & Glass EyesLarge And Very Fine Chinese Famille Rose Figural Charger. 18 Th CenturyOriental Brown Terracotta Clay Teapot Chinese ?Fine Chinese Blanc De Chine Figure Of GuanyinVintage Patinated Bronze Chinese Gansu Flying Horse Sculpturefigural Statue YqzAntique Chinese Hand Carved Buddha FigureSigned Miyao Meiji Bronze Chinese Boy Karako Drum Taiko Enamelled Statue YqzAntique Vintage Chinese Dehua Blanc De Chine Porcelain Guanyin On Lion StatueGilt Lacquer Winged Griffin Lion Figure Temple Statue Thailand Burma?A Nice Antique Chines Famille Rose Porcelain Cup With Surprise Figure C 19th CFine Old Chinese Large Carved Soapstone Carving Sculpture Scholar Art #2Fine Old Chinese Carved Wood Stand Display Carving Sculpture Scholar Art #1Fine Old Chinese Signed Yixing Red Clay Enamel Tea Pot Scholar Sculpture ArtRare Old Khorsan Islamic Bronze Ewer Silver Inlay Arabic Calligraphy & Figures Wonderful Chinese Carving Figure Guan Yin With Flowers And Fan - Qing DynastyA Large Antique Chinese Rootwood Figure Of A Taoist Immortal & A Deer. Shou Lao?Fine Quality 19th/20th Century Chinese Blanc De Chine Buddha On StandFine Antique Chinese Bronze Figure Of The Infant BuddhaFine Old Chinese Carved Wood Stand Display Carving Sculpture Scholar Art #2Japanese Hanging Scroll "fujin / God Of Wind" @u11719th/20th C. Tibeto-chinese A Thangka Of BuddhaRarea Superb 1700's Chinese Canton Figural Fan Carved On Both Sides Silver Silk#137 Lot 9 Vintage Chinese Glazed Stoneware Foo Dogs Elephant Pot & StatuesFine Old Chinese Large Carved Soapstone Carving Sculpture Scholar Art #1Republican Communist Mao Era China New Years Good Luck Boy Carp Sculpture Nr YqzAntique 19th/20thc Chinese Louhan Carved & Polychrome Painted Soapstone FigureFine Old Chinese Carved Wood Stand Display Carving Sculpture Art #1Folk Chinese Pure Brass Horse Stepping On Flying Swallow Statue Figurine 7" X 6"Pair Of Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Figures4 Fine Old Chinese Sandal Wood Boxwood Carving Plaque FiguresPr Vtg Chinese Export Cloisonne Enamel Gold Gilt Parrot Cockatoo Bird SculptureFine & Unusual Japanese Sterling Silver Figural Dogwood Bonsai Plant OkimonoLarge Old Indonesian Buddha Statue On Wood Stand Indonesia6hkl Japanese Antique Buddhist Jizo Bosatsu Guardian Statue Wood Zushi Shrine NrValuable! Tsuba For Samurai Katana,inlay,sculpture,karajishi,edo,iron/hf057/Zk1417 Large Chinese Dehua White Porcelain Kwan-yin Guanyin Statue arrogance Chinese Old Brass Handmade Collect Dragon Head Statue Walking StickFine Old Chinese Pair Cloisonné Jars W/ Wood Stands Carving Sculpture Scholar Old Chinese Jade Statue Fine Old Chinese Carved Wood Stand Display Carving Sculpture Art #24 Antique Chinese Soapstone Figures Guanyin Qing 19th Century ...... N0 ReserveVintage Cloisonné And Carved Jade Stone Bonsai Flowering Plant Statue China 1900Spectacular Majestic Vintage Chinese Horse Statue Made Of Solid BronzeChinese 10" Tall Amethyst, Hard Stone Carving/statue Of Immortal, SauZk1423 Fine Chinese Old Bronze Buddha Sit Statue