Saturday, January 31, 2009

Memories of China, a Twelve Year Cycle and a Connection Made






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.


Three Pagodas on the way to Dali





The village of Dali.




two little ink paintings from that trip with my signature chop!

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





The New Year Sapling Market in Lijiang
was going on just as I got off the bus.











14 comments:

heidi said...

What an amazing journey... you really did a great job covering all the senses in your storytelling. Go turn it into a beautifully bound hard-cover book!

Vana said...

I think you have shown all the different aspects of life here, hon! Something no tv documentary can ever tell.I would love to tag along next time. You would make a super traveling companion:) the girl can only hope, right?

P said...

These photographs are incredible - I am in love with the old man who carries the cane.

High Desert Diva said...

Oh Deb...what a fantastic trip!

Anonymous said...

Lijiang has changed a lot over the years.
There's more info about Lijiang, and the good and bad changes at www.travelpod.com/members/happysheep

heidi said...

wow. great photos... so cool that you had that experience

thanks for the link to the article by your poet friend!

Aran said...

i'm speechless... amazing, inspiring... leaves me wanting to know more about China and their traditions. I knew it was the chinese new year but not sure of what it represents. thank you for sharing this with us deb! xo

lazysundae said...

what wonderful, beautiful pictures! makes me want to visit the motherland more and more. despite growing up in a chinese household i have never been to the land of my ancestors. thanks so much for sharing these!

molly said...

ohhhhh, these stories of china are just gorgeous...the memories you must have...and bringing it all full circle.

Julia said...

These are incredible images, I can't believe they're all YOURS :) What a trip! I'm so envious and enthralled~

Melissa de la Fuente said...

wow....what incredibly photos. I love the children and the images of the village....so amazing.What a journey.
xo
Melis

muralimanohar said...

These two posts are amazing. Totally reinforcing my intentions to get there someday.

And I would love to see the "scared tree". :p

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing this story.

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