Beyond Chinatown (by Andrew Shiue):
You can see treasures from China’s cultural heritage that typically are not seen in museums and galleries at Artexpo New York at Pier 94 along the Hudson River. Huayuan Art, an offshoot of an organization founded 23 years ago in Gansu, China and devoted to the cultural development of Northwest China brings to the fair elaborate replicas of the Silk Road Buddhist murals and a live demonstration of Suzhou’s silk craft. Additionally, Huayuan will display other created through specialized craftmanship: lacquer paintings, Nepali Thangkas, multi-layered paper cuttings and traditional Chinese paintings.
Huayuan will display 29 cave painting replicas based on murals from the famous Mogao Caves and the under-the-tourist-radar but equally exquisite Yulin Caves (榆林窟), and Maijishan Grottoes (麦积山石窟) that were hand-painted by Chinese artists Gao Shan, Shen Yongping, Liu Junqi, and Shi Dunyu. These caves, with their exquisite wall paintings and sculptures, bear witness to the intense religious, artistic, and cultural exchange that took place along the Silk Road—history’s most famous trade route linking East and West. The replicas are painted with traditional cave painting techniques, and authentically represent the current state of the caves, without hiding damage and conservation efforts.
The replicas also show the lacquer painting techniques which are typically associated with Chinese and Japanese lacquerware. In one highlight, Acolyte Bodhisattva on the North Side of the Buddha, artist Ma Ke uses natural lacquer, along with gold, silver, and other mineral pigments, to portray a standing Bodhisattva statue from the Mogao Caves with an elegant composition and lustrous finish. With a slight smile playing upon his delicate face, this bodhisattva is one of the most distinctive and oft copied images from the caves.
In addition to these frescos, other sacred art on view includes Huayuan’s collection of thangkas, Tibetan Buddhist paintings on fabric that depict deities, and mandalas and visually describe a deity’s realm. Traditionally, thangkas are hung in monasteries or upon family altars, and are carried by lamas in ceremonial processions. Originally designed to be portable mediums of spiritual communication and guides for visualization of deities, thangkas still hold great spiritual significance with Buddhist practitioners. The name thangka is derived from thang, the Tibetan word for ‘unfolding’, which indicates the ability to be rolled up as a scroll when not in use, or for transport. Every piece is hand-painted by Nepali lamas, with natural mineral pigments on fabric, each taking several months of meticulous work to complete.
Finally, Suzhou embroidery, the most celebrated style of Chinese silk art will be showcased through the works and a live demonstration by nationally recognized master artist Wang Lihua. This art form is one of four main regional styles of Chinese silk art and is renowned for its use of the finest threads, elegant colors, dense stitching, and smooth finishes to create incredible detail and subtle lighting effects on stunningly realistic images reminiscent of oil paintings by the Dutch masters.
Business-minded locals in the mountainous part of Guandong province in China are making money off the region’s natural fresh air.
Lianshan Zhuang and Yao autonomous county residents, have set up stalls atop its mountain and began selling air in plastic bags to city dwellers escaping the smog.
According to NetEase (via Shanghaiist), the price of the fresh air ranges from 10 yuan ($1.50) for a small bag and up to 30 yuan ($4.50) for a larger bag.
Lianshan county, reportedly the greenest area in northern Guandong, is a favorite getaway spot for city folk who want to escape from urban pollution.
Marketing a bag of air is not that difficult for these crafty entrepreneurs as many customers find the idea of taking home fresh mountain air quite reasonable.
Air pollution has become a major issue in China especially in its highly industrialized cities and continuously poses a threat to the public health of its people.
Chinese musician and beatbox champion Heartgrey performed his own take on using calculations made by Siri as a backing track to demonstrate an impressive display of his beatboxing talent.
I think there’s a lot of people who doing Siri beatbox already in the world. So
I want to try something different. This is my version. …..check this out – a hundred trillion to the 10th power.
CBS New York/AP:
New York City will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a five-day festival early next month.
“The Year of the Monkey Celebration” runs from Feb. 6 through Feb. 10.
The festival, presented by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, is hosting a myriad of events, including the “The Fantastic Art China” exhibition at the Javits Center, where traditional and contemporary Chinese artworks will be showcased.
Environmental conservation efforts for monkeys in China also will be highlighted.
A Hudson River fireworks display set to the music of Oscar and Grammy Award winner Tan Dun is scheduled for Feb. 6.
The Empire State Building is also planning a light display for Feb. 6 and Feb. 8. And the New York Philharmonic’s 5th Annual Chinese New Year Concert will be held at Lincoln Center on Feb. 9.
Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Lunar New Year an official public school holiday. An estimated 15 percent of New York City school children celebrate the Lunar New Year.
It took more time to design the plan than to actually construct the bridge.
The Sanyuan Bridge in Beijing links 48 key routes and three major highways: the Airport Expressway, the China National Highway 101 and the 3rd Ring Road. Over 200,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, so there were some major safety issues when it was discovered that the bridge was severely damaged due to the daily wear and tear from the hundreds of thousands of cars.
Engineers and city planners racked their brains in order to figure out the best and least intrusive way to overhaul the bridge in the fastest amount of time. It took 11 different iterations of the plans and countless hours of painstaking preparation, but the deconstruction of the old bridge and construction of a new one took only 43 hours to complete.