dover-chinese-designsCreative Haven Chinese Designs (Creative Haven Coloring Books)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Copyright: 2013
Number of designs: 31
ISBN-10: 048649313X
ISBN-13: 978-0486493138

I’ve always loved Oriental design, and this book from Dover Publications is no exception. The artist has taken traditional motifs from Chinese embroidery, ceramic, bronze, lacquer and other crafts. If you’ve done any research on Chinese symbolism, you’ll notice that many of the typical designs are circular. I’m not sure if this is due to the objects being decorated, or simply because the circle is the most common symbol of unity. But this book is filled with mostly circular designs.

Review Breakdown

  • Complexity: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Book Size: 8.2 x 11 inches
  • Design Borders: none
  • Design Lines: hand-drawn, so it varies, but generally a medium thickness
  • Paper: average thickness
  • Printing: single-sided
  • Binding: glue-bound

The motifs of birds, dragons, flowers, and lions tend to have a symbolic meaning in Chinese culture. Ducks are a sign of marital bliss; cranes symbolize longevity; lions are a symbol of strength; dragons mean imperial power, but also are meant to refer to China itself.

As a hidden treasure, I made a discovery while paging through this book. In the spine, just beyond the perforated edging that allows you to tear out the pages, Dover has printed a brief sentence describing where the motif originated, as well as what is represents. So if you are wondering if a particular design is a lotus flower or a peony, take a peek at the spine. This actually made me wonder how many other Dover books have hidden descriptions in the spine!

Do you have this book? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments!

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