Gift giving can be a tricky thing; adding cross-cultural currents to the equation makes things even murkier. What if you give a bad gift? Or one that’s considered bad luck? You’ve probably heard not to give knives at a wedding or a clock for a birthday before. There’s plenty of advice about what NOT to give. But what should you give; what is a good gift? One that won’t offend or put someone on the spot.
Symbolic gifts, ones that represent prosperity go a long way in making an impression without risking offense. The key is to select something of fine quality without getting too extravagant. Something that's too lavish can be as off-putting as a thoughtless or unwanted gift. Birthday, wedding, anniversary and business gifts can all follow the same rule. Fortunately Asian art has centuries worth of symbolism for you to sort though to find a quality gift that will inspire and minimize the chance of insult.
Even when you know a person well, it can be difficult to choose the right gift. When the recipient is just an acquaintance or a business associate the nervous factor increases exponentially. That’s way we’ve compiled a short list of Asian arts with symbolic meanings of prosperity that make great gifts for any occasion. Each is a fine work of art, yet well within budget, even for office parties or Secret Santa events. Asian art allows you to give quality without going over the top.
We should also point out that at Reorient you can have your gift sent already wrapped and with a personalized gift message. There is a small fee for gift wrap but a personalized hand written note is always free.
So here they are, in no particular order, our five auspicious Asian arts for prosperity:
1. Chinese Feng Shui Coins for Wealth and Success: Less then $10 for two sets. These authentic bronze coins are modeled after those minted during the Qing Dynasty. Three are bound together with red string for good luck, wealth and prosperity. The coins have Chinese characters for the names of emperors forged on both sides. The three coins together represent a balance of Heaven, Earth and Humanity in Taoist philosophy and are thought to help attract prosperity to your door.
2. Flowers: Bloom represents impending prosperity. The fruits of your labor, the fruits of the harvest; the path from spring buds to autumn yields is abundantly clear. Before there’s fruit, there are always flowers. Depictions of flowers and floral motifs in Asian art have a symbolic dimension, representing wealth upon the horizon. You can find flowers in watercolor paintings, flowers on porcelains or flowers carved from stone. All make for thoughtful, inexpensive gifts.
3. The Five Blessings Buddha: In China there are thought to be 5 essentials for a happy life -health, wealth, longevity, virtue, and a peaceful passing. Our hand crafted ceramic figurine represents the 5 essentials with his colony of 5 bats. Why bats? In Chinese the word for bat has a similar pronunciation to the words for “blessings” or “riches.” So bats have become a common motif in Asian arts for good fortune and prosperity. The number 5 can also be auspicious as it has association with the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal).
4. The Fingered citron or “Buddha's Hand” citron: It is a tangy juiceless citrus fruit. It has long finger like sections, which resemble the fingers of Quan Yin perched for prayer. In China the fruit symbolizes prosperity and longevity. When it is given as a gift it represents a wish for good fortune upon the recipient. Reorient has a small supply of vintage hand carved jade pieces fashioned in the shape of the Buddha’s hand. Not only are these beautiful treasures to bestow upon someone but as fine jade pieces they are also sure to increase in value.
5. The Butterfly: Butterflies are among the luckiest of Chinese symbols for prosperity. Due to linguistic similarities butterflies have come to represent not just prosperity and long life but a piling up, or accumulation, of both. Butterflies are used to decorate all kinds of wonderful gift items and arts in China. Reorient has some unique and affordable selections for gift giving that will impress your friends, family or associates without impairing your budget.