Baby Breeding Room

      Nothing can be more important than breeding a baby in the life of our folks. The whole family celebrates the birth of a new baby. Inside the "one-month box" carefully prepared by the long-waiting grandma, the tiger-shaped headdress and shoes as well as the little cotton coat are neatly placed. When the big day comes, on which the baby is exactly one month old, the grandma stride into her daughter's house in a proud and joyful air, with the one-month box in her arms, shining red and painted with "five tigers" and "a hundred babies". Women of all ages in the village gather around and watch the ceremony, paying generous compliments to the family's riches and craft.

 

      The paintings of "Golden Boy and Jade Maiden", "Five sons passing the civil service exams (considered great honor in imperial times)", "A hundred Children and Perfect fortune", all represent the wish of a prosperous family. Yet bringing up a child is far from an easy task. The chamber pot, horse-shaped chair, pillory cage, cradle, sleeping basket, hammock, bedside stone, diaper rack, wash basin, and walking chair, etc. All of them witness the growing up of the child, and know mother's love and relatives' care.

    Toys are their treasures in children's eyes. These traditional folk articles, cloth tigers, mud monkeys, golden-hair lions, rattle-drums, pinwheels, wind-bells, kites, mud whistles, though a little coarse and clumsy, are colorful and dear "heroes" in a child's heart, and auspicious for his parents, which are expected to drive away the evils and to protect the child growing up healthy and safe. A "bedside stone" prevents the child from falling off the bed, and guard against the evils that harm babies. If the farming works keep both parents away from the baby, they leave him to the magic of the "stone Buddha". The child can sleep sound upon the stone pillow after tiring himself crawling and playing about. A stone to a child is a companion to rely on, and turn to. It accompanies generations of 'parents' growing up. The first contact to the stone is the start of the life experience in this world.

    It is a children's world. It is also our history, and our culture.

    Such dear memories of childhood in the past!

    Collected from: Shaanxi, Shanxi, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong, Henan, Hebei.

    Time span: Qing Dynasty to the Modern Times, about 300 years.