Lunar New Year celebrations in Yangshuo spent with a few new friends
who had been working in China that year.
China, February 1997: It was also Chinese New Year and also the beginning of year of the Ox. Some celestial spirits are aligning or maybe it's a lunar blessing--sometimes with a collection I have an outright idea in mind, sometimes I let the materials and my inspirations lead me where they want to go--I think as this new collection evolved over the weeks, its feel and elements and colors remind me of that trip I took, like parts of a dream: of blossoming branches and saplings brought from the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to market, of celestial patterns on the backs of Naxi women's coats, colors of rich green mountain teas and herbs, bright yellow mustard flowers, rosy winter camellia buds and crimson monk's robes, sparkly himalayan snow and the still deep black night skies with a million stars.
I spent an incredible month there, in the deep south in Yunnan Province with a foray into Guanzhou to see the beautiful village of Yangshuo. From Kunming I took a long overnight train ride (where I learned how to play Mao's favorite card game and the word for apple in Mandarin: ping-guo) to the lovely carst-y hills of Yangshuo for a week and then back to Kunming, then by "sleeper bus" to the pretty town of Dali with it's mustard fields and art center and finally the ancient village of Lijiang at the foot of the furthest eastern Himalayas, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, where I traipsed through the New Year's Plant Market, met Naxi elders, and finally met Dr. Ho and the monk who protected a very scared tree...Chinese New Year celebrations were subdued compared to the big events that happen outside of China. At the time all I saw was a lot of doorways dressed in red messages for the the new year and one lonely old dragon suit (with four legs) from a train window. Oh and the random firecracker show here and there...
Naxi women of Lijiang
The old village of Lijiang during the Lunar New Year, year of the Ox