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    

19th C. Thai Bronze Buddha With Inset Stones, Pigments Hand Carved Large Oriental Chinese Green Jade Dragon FigureA Pair Of Good Dao Guang & Xian Feng Chinese Figures CupsSplendid Antique Chinese Guanyin Figure & Original Wooden Stand Buddha Antique Chinese Carved Soapstone Guan Yin Figures On Table LampSuperb Antique Bronze Burmese Buddha Figure Buddhist Indian Chinese Best Quality Antique Chinese Pair 18thc Cow Bone Master Carved Deity StatuesLarge Ancient Chinese Han Dynasty Terracotta Pottery Warrior Figure - 206 BcAntique Japanese Or Chinese Figural Bronze Quail Censer Incense BurnerRare Japenese **lady Scholar** Kutani Figure Gold Kimono Satsuma Chinese EnamelUnusual Chinese Soapstone Statue With Figures Antique Kangxi Period Chinese Porcelain Rouge De Fer Charger W/ Figures 11in28cm10hk Japanese Vintage Buddhist Goddess Kannon Buddha Standing Statue Curved WoodBest Quality Chinese 19thc Intricately Carved Ancient Life Cow Bone Statue GroupSuperb Old Ancient Looking Chinese Bronze Buddha / Temple God - Early ExampleAntique Cast Bronze Finish Circus Elephant & Ball Big Top Animal Show SculptureAntique 19th C. Chinese Carved & Polychromed Soapstone Figures On Wood StandVintage Chinese Export Cloisonne Hand Painted Trojan Equestrian Horse SculptureA Khmer Bronze Figurine Of Hindu Goddess Uma/parvati Cambodia. 12th/13th CenturyWonderful Antique Chinese Soapstone Figure Buddhist Guanyin Very Fine Old Middle Eastern / North African Cold Painted Figure Of A ManAncient Chinese Han Dynasty Terracotta Cocoon Jar - 206 BcMost Unusual Old Clay Pipe - Greek God Pan ? - Stamped - Info Most WelcomeAntique Chinese Ming Dynasty Wanli Period Blue & White Jar With FiguresUnusual 19th C Chinese Porcelain Many Figures Bitong Famille Verte Brush PotAntique Chinese Bamboo Brush Pot Carved With Figures In Boat Sea & LandscapePerfect Unusual Chinese Porcelain Ming Kendi 17th C. Wanli FigureFine Old Chinese Resin Reclining Lady Doctor's Doll Medical Statue FigurineFine Old Chinese Carved Hardstone Figural Dragon & Koi Fish Scholar Brush Washer2 Chinese Antique Cherry Amber Statues Early 20thImportant Ming Chinese Seated Bronze Buddha With Traces Of Gilt Museum QualityGood Large 1950s/60s Porcelain Buddha **perfect** Hand Painted Large Heavy Vintage Balinese Carved Wood Buddha Figure 1970s Bali Fine Antique Chinese Mandarin Hand Painted Figural Spoon Rest Or Stand 18th C. Fine Old Chinese Silver 18k Gold Buddha Conch Pendant Bead Necklace Antique Chinese Porcelain Teapot Famille Rose Hand Painted Figures 18thc?Spectacular Antique Chinese Sterling Silver Jeweled Bird Figural Cup 387 Grams/715 Japanese Antique Fine Quality Wood Netsuke "daruma Buddha" AuthenticAntique Indian Shamshir Sword With Figural Hilt Fine Antique Chinese Mandarin Hand Painted Figural Spoon Rest 18th C. 719 Japanese Antique Fine Quality Wood Netsuke "benzaiten Buddha" Authentic717 Japanese Antique Fine Quality Staghorn Netsuke "chestnuts" Authentic StatueFine Chinese Coral Sculpture Of A Lady + Stand Ca. 1900Two Chinese Famille Rose Figures And Calligraphy Dishes 19thc100% Natural Hand-carved Chinese Hetian Jade Statue - Ssangyong In DelightRare 12th/13thc Hindu God Vishnu. Khmer Bronze. Bayon, Angkor.Fine Old Chinese Carved White Jade Statue Necklace Pendant Of A Scholarly Man Antique Vintage Japanese Wood Carving Netsuke Collection Monkey Mouse SculptureVtg Chinese Export Hand Carved Grape Cluster Leaf Pierced Soapstone Sculpture NrA Small Antique Ming Chinese Antique Carved Bronze Buddha Large Old Bronze Buddha StatueFine Old Chinese Carved Stag Antler Figural Scholars Wrist Rest & Ruyi ScepterB670 Rare Edo Meiji Japanese Genuine Antique Netsuke "hannya Demon" Oni StatueExquiste Pair Qing Period Chinese Guanyin Porcelain Figures Stamped With Seal Antique Carved Chinese Jade Figure Foo Dog Or Shi Lion Finely Carved NoresVery Rare Antique Chinese Carved Horn Tortoise With Insect, Lotus Statue SceneSuperb Huge C1900 Chinese Carved Soapstone Figurine Of GuanyinWonderful 20th C Chinese Sandalwood Group Hand Carved Female Figures Rich DetailInteresting Antique Carved Wooden Figure Tsai-po-chun Ming CantoneseA Superb Chinese 19c "qianjiangcai" Figural Bowl-guangxu