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 Japanese Meiji Period Detailed Wood Carving Sculpture Man & Pet MonkeyV.rare 18/19c Chinese Carved Duan Stone Inkstone Imperial Figures Scenic Plaque Amazing Antique Chinese Apple Green White Jade Jadeite Crane Bird W Lotus FigureEx.rare Early Chinese Puddingstone Mythical Beast Fu Lion Figure Tang DynastyVery Rare Chinese Carved Natural Orange Coral 12 Rabbits Surrounding Fox Figure#8399 Japanese Samurai Edo Antique Daruma Signed Excellent StatueFine Antique Chinese Hand Carved Kwan Yin Geishas Flowers Figural Group FigureVery Fine 16/17c Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Jade Mythical Fu Lion Bixie Figure19c Chinese Figural Bronze Of An Emperor Seated On A Tiger Signed No ReserveSuperb Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Elephant Figure Scholars Water Pot BowlVeryfine Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Elephant W Figures Clouds Bats Silver StandAmazing 18/19thc Chinese Carved Natural White Jade Elephant Figural PendantBeautiful Chinese Gilt-bronze Figure Of A Warrior 17th C. Ming Top!Important 12thc Khmer Angkor Period Carved Sandstone Buddha Vishnu Deity Figure19th Antique Saint St George On Horse Cow Bone Deep Carved Sculpture Chinese?Antique 19th Century Japanese Meiji Bronze Samurai & Oni Devil FigureAntique 19thc Chinese Carved Emerald Rock Crystal Fluorite Phoenix Bird FigureGreat Pair Chinese Porcelain Canton Vases 19th C. Figures + Gilt + DragonSplendid Chinese Jade Carved Animal Figure White And Black JadeSuperb Chinese Qing Dynasty Antique Gilt Bronze Buddha Sitting Statue Yw779Early Chinese Carved Sandstone Head Bust Buddha Deity Figure Ming Or EarlierAn 18th Century Chinese Porcelain Yongzheng Period Bowl With FiguresPair Of Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Cups And Saucers, Figures And CalligraphyVery Fine Chinese Carved White Jade Qilin Dragon Figure Pendant Ming Qing DynastAncient Chinese Han Dynasty Terracotta Stick Figure Yangling Man - 206 BcFine & Rare Qing Dynasty Carved Soapstone Figure Of Mother And Child Nice Large Chinese Canton Famille Rose Jar With Cover, Figures, 19th Century.Veryfine Chinese Ming Qing Dynasty Carved Jade Mythical Fu Lion Dog Beast FigureB743: Chinese Stone Carving Ware Ornamental Statue With Very Good Sculpture WorkSuperb Large Antique Chinese Hand Carved Sandal Wood Figural Scene Brise FanEarly Antique Chinese Jade Mythical Archaic Bird Figure Pendant Song YuanAntique Chinese Carved Emerald Green Jade Recumbent Water Buffalo Ox Figure MingAntique Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Hardwood Seated Figure Of ManQuality Large Wooden Chinese Figure 1960s Or Republic Japanese Antique Buddhist Amida Nyorai Statue Gold Gilt Lacquered Wood Buddha NrThree Antique Chinese Carved Soapstone Erotic Figure Groups 19th / Early 20th C.Very Rare Old Chinese Antique Qing Dynasty Gilding Bronze Buddha Statue Ne183Very Beautiful Chinese Porcelain B/w Bowl & Cover Figures Xuande!Ancient Chinese Tang Dynasty Terracotta Attendant Figure - 618 AdFine Rare Antique Chinese Daoist Kui Xing Guardian Deity Ming Bronze Figure Fine Antique Chinese Carved Sandal Wood 100 Faces Figural Scene Leaf FanA Large/beautiful Chinese 18c Famille Rose Figural Jar-yongzhengChinese Erotic Scene Famille Rose 18th C Coffee Cup Mandarin Figures #3Antique Chinese Cloisonne Female Beauty Figure Statue 14" H Cloisonne Figure.Antique Japanese Meiji Period Bronze Sculpture Figure Snapping Turtle SignedTwo Nice Chinese Blue & White Kangxi Tea Bowls, Figures, Marked: Lingzhi.Beautiful Antique Asian Carved Figure Of Two Women On Wood StandAuth. 19thc Chinese Carved White Jade Twin Cat Figures Pendant Carving Japanese Vtg Buddhist Amida Nyorai Buddha Standing Statue Wood Zushi Shrine NrFine Early 19th Century Antique Chinese Burr Wood Figure Of A SageEarly Chinese / Tibet Bronze Figure 17th Century MingAntique Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Musician Drummer Statue Figure - 1368 AdAntique Chinese Angel Skin White Natural Coral Pendants & Figure Boy Japanese Vtg Buddhist Amida Nyorai Buddha Sitting Statue Bronze Zushi Shrine Nr2 Fine Small Antique 19c Qing Chinese Carved Soapstone Figures & InscriptionChinese 18/19thc White Hetian Jade Crane Bird With Ruyi Lotus Figure Pendant19th-20th C. Chinese Bone Carved Beauty FigurePair Very Rare Chinese Carved Vibrant Yellow Jade Stone Phoenix Bird FiguresAntique Silver Bowl Indian Dancing Figures Deity’s Heavy 91 Gms Circa 189018th-19th C. Marked Chinese Modeled Dehua Figure Of Luohan