The Chinese ‘Horeur de vide’ or horror of emptiness plays a strong part in their use of pattern. Patterns are used to break up surfaces within Chinese architecture for structures, screens, tiling, and ceilings as well as in their craft; textiles, iron ware, pottery and furniture. The patterns evoke fortune and luck, dispelling negatives. The objects they appear on go towards making an auspicious environment in the everyday. The craftsman’s work is seen as incomplete or unfinished if areas are left void of line or color.
They employ ‘Diaper’ or repeated geometric shapes to ensure that surfaces are not left empty. Originally ‘Diaper’ was the term that described the use of pattern in small repeated geometric shapes. Only later did it evolve to describe a patterned white cotton or linen piece of fabric. ‘Diaper’ can be repeat patterns of squares, circles, crosshatching or lozenges (diamonds) and are arranged within rows and borders or employed as panels.
The pattern forms have ancient origins with links to early animal and nature worship by ancient tribes. A few examples include Cloud, Dragon, Wave and Thunder patterns. ‘Thunder-Patterns’ are repetitive and continuous and an example of the strong connection agricultural people had with life-giving rain. The symbol of thunder represented ‘the downpour that brought the heaven-sent gift of abundance’. The use of the ‘nipple’ too symbolizes the nourishing of man-kind.