Huayuan Art showcases Silk Road murals and Suzhou embroidery at Artexpo NY

13、莫高窟第249窟 阿修罗 西魏 80X60 (沈永平)

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 7.27.25 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 7.32.36 PM

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.

Nepal’s landmarks, before and after the earthquake

Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple, Katmandu


Before: Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple, Katmandu
April 25, 2015
Before: Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple, Katmandu
Volunteers helped to remove the debris of a three-story temple.

Vatsala Shikhara Temple, Bhaktapur

July 2014

Before: Vatsala Shikhara Temple, Bhaktapur

April 26, 2015

Before: Vatsala Shikhara Temple, Bhaktapur

After the earthquake, people occupied the square in front of a collapsed temple in Bhaktapur, eight miles east of Katmandu.

Dharahara Tower, Katmandu

July 15, 2013

Before: Dharahara Tower, Katmandu

April 25, 2015

Before: Dharahara Tower, Katmandu

A nine-story structure built in 1832 on orders from the queen. It was made of bricks more than a foot thick, and had recently been reopened to the public. Sightseers could climb a narrow spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 200 feet above the city.

Maju Deval, Katmandu

July 2014

Before: Maju Deval, Katmandu

April 25, 2015

Before: Maju Deval, Katmandu

This temple, built in 1690, is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Dukha tribe, Mongolia’s last nomadic reindeer herders

My Modern Met:

After living in Nepal and exploring Tibet and the Himalayas for more than a decade, photographer Hamid Sardar-Afkhami decided he would travel to outer Mongolia to document the nomadic tribes and their unique way of life. A scholar of Tibetan and Mongol languages who received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Sanskrit and Tibetan Studies, Sardar was just the right person to capture the Dukha people, Mongolia’s last nomadic reindeer herders. The Dukha are an ancient group of people of Turk descent who are dependent on reindeer for their way of life. In addition to milk and cheese, the reindeer provide transportation for hunting. They’re ridden to hunt wild elk and boar.

The Dukha tribe is quickly disappearing. Only about 44 Dukha families remain, or between 200 to 400 people. In the 1970s, it’s estimated that there was a population of about 2,000 reindeer but that number has since dwindled to about 600.

Sardar has not only captured fascinating photos of this lost culture, he shot a film called The Reindeer People which followed a family on its seasonal migrations.

Synopsis:In Northern Mongolia, there exists a sacred alliance between people, ancestor spirits and reindeer. This film is an intimate portrait of a family of Dukha reindeer nomads following their migration through the forests of Mongolia’s Hovsgol province. They move with a herd of about a hundred reindeer through a sacred forest inhabited by the spirits of their ancestors, who communicate to the living through songs. The oldest Dukha, is a divine seer, a 96-year old shaman, called Tsuyan. She is the link between the healing songs of the forest ancestors, her people and their reindeer. She is the centerpiece of an extraordinary adventure that unites people and animals in one of the wildest regions of Mongolia – where people still live and hunt in a forest dominated by supernatural beings. To live in harmony with them, people had to learn to respect nature and animals and to pass down their beliefs, from generation to generation, by invoking the song-lines of their deceased ancestors.”

The film earned a jury prize for Best Film on Mountain Culture at the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami’s website

Fake 7-Elevens across Asia


RocketNews 24:

Take a quick look at the picture above. Notice anything strange? Perceptive readers may have spotted something out-of-place right away. If you didn’t, well, no worries, but you’ll probably want to facepalm yourself when you take a second look.

Like this Chinese 7-Twelve, there are a number of fake, localized versions of popular convenience store 7-Eleven scattered throughout the Asian continent. They may think they can slip through the cracks, but perhaps it’s only a matter of time before a lawyer comes knocking at their doors. We have to hand it to them, though–they score high on creativity for coming up with some amusing names.

Let’s take a look at some photographic evidence of the various 7-Eleven wannabes out there.



You may not have guessed it, but our first offender is actually from none other than Japan! Err, was, that is–this particular store is no longer in business.

7-Mercy apparently opened during the latter years of the Showa Era (1926-1989) somewhere in Miyagi Prefecture. We certainly did a double take the first time we glanced at the store’s logo:


Ironically, there’s now a real 7-Eleven located right across the street:



Moving on to China, we’re once again almost, but not quite, fooled by the familiar-looking red and green logo. Perhaps someone was trying to make a statement by one-upping the number eleven? At least they spelled it right…


Here we’ve got the presumably less-convenient 9-One.” We wonder what the significance of the numbers “nine” and “one” is…




If you travel further south in Asia, you can find a mini-mart in the guise of 7-Days.”



Does the name 7-Bright suggest that it’s only open when there’s still light outside? Or that the shop workers will greet you with bright smiles? Perhaps only intelligent people can shop here…


Nepal (Pokhara):

Although the sign reads “7-Eleven,” the merchandise being sold there appears to be fitting only for some kind of school festival.


Here’s a new one–how would you like to waste the night away at the “7-Eleven Dance Bar”?


South Korea (Dongdaemun district, Seoul):

Finally, we have this 7-Seven mart located in a popular Korean tourist area. While lacking the chain’s distinctive red and green stripes, the design of the numeral “7” still comes a little too close to the real thing.


Has anyone seen any other fake 7-Elevens out there during their travels around the globe? We’re sure there’s a whole slew of counterfeit shops for other popular chains, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, as well.


Photo Essay: Stunning images of the ancient traditional honey hunters of Nepal

Bored Panda:




Andrew Newey, an award-winning UK-based travel photographer, has captured gripping photographs of central Nepalese Gurung tribe members engaged in a dangerous and ancient tradition – honey hunting.

Twice a year, the Gurung honey hunters ascend to the base of cliffs in central Nepal and ascend them to collect honey. They use the same tools that their ancestors did – hand-woven rope ladders and tangos, the long sharp bamboo poles that they use to cut the honey-filled hives off of the face of the cliff and drop them into baskets waiting below. After lighting smoke fires at the base of the cliff to smoke out the bees, they climb their ladders and collect their honey.

Besides the danger of falling, they also happen to be harvesting the honey of the largest honeybee in the world. The Himalayan honey bee can grow to be up to 3 cm (1.2 in) in length. Due to grayanotoxins from the white rhododendrons they feed on in the spring, their spring honey can be intoxicating, and fetches high prices in Japan, Korea and China. The open cliff-face hives help protect the bees from predators and keeps them warm by exposing them to sunlight.

Honey hunting is among the oldest known human activities. There is an 8,000-year-old cave painting in Spain that portrays a man climbing vines to collect honey. One can imagine that these brave honey hunters’ occupation probably stretches back just as far, if not further.

Website: (via theguardian)


Check out this link:


Photo Essay: Stunning images of the ancient traditional honey hunters of Nepal


Twice a year, the Gurung honey hunters ascend to the base of cliffs in central Nepal and ascend them to collect honey.




They use the same tools that their ancestors did – hand-woven rope ladders and tangos, the long sharp bamboo poles that they use to cut the honey-filled hives off of the face of the cliff.







Honey hunting is among the oldest known human activities. There is an 8,000-year-old cave painting in Spain that portrays a man climbing vines to collect honey.




Besides the danger of falling, they also happen to be harvesting the honey of the largest honeybee in the world. The Himalayan honey bee can grow to be up to 3 cm (1.2 in) in length.





Due to grayanotoxins from the white rhododendrons they feed on in the spring, their spring honey can be intoxicating, and fetches high prices in Japan, Korea and China.




Friend Charged in Connection with the Killing of Nepali-American Virginia Tech Student

Samanata Shrestha was a Virginia Tech senior.

A missing Virginia Tech student was found dead last week, allegedly at the hands of a close friend.

Samanata Shrestha, a 21-year-old student at the university, was reported missing by her parents after they became worried after they hadn’t heard from her last Saturday. Concerned, they drove from their home in Vienna, Virginia, to Blacksburg to look for her. Police would later find her body inside her car.

Shrestha’s close friend and fellow VT student Jessica Michelle Ewing has been charged with her murder. According to search warrants filed in court, Ewing reportedly told several people that she “had done something terrible.”

This Roanoke Times piece gives a detailed look at what else was in the search warrants — including the fact that Ewing was said to have told a friend “I killed that girl.”

Keifer Kyle Brown, who graduated from Virginia Tech last year, is being charged with accessory after the fact after allegedly helping to move Shrestha’s body.

Virginia Tech’s president released a statement that read in part:

Those who knew Samanata Shrestha, a senior majoring in biological sciences from Vienna, Va., confirm her zest for school and love of Virginia Tech. One teacher described her as a “faculty member’s dream” because of her exceptional scholarship, love of learning, and “she always had a smile.” A University Honors student, Samanata had minors in medicine and society and psychology. She was inducted into Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges 2013. That an inspiring young woman would lose her life to violent crime hurts beyond belief.

Samanata Shrestha was a Virginia Tech senior.

Check out this link:

Friend Charged in Connection with the Killing of Nepali-American Virginia Tech Student


Google Translate adds support for four more Asian languages

google translate punjabi

Google Translate added support for nine more languages last week, including four from Asia: Punjabi, Nepali, Maori, and Mongolian.

Punjabi is the ninth most-spoken language in the world, spanning India, Pakistan, and the diaspora. It’s a common language used in Bollywood films. Punjabi is the native tongue of more than 100 million people worldwide.

Nepali has 42 million native speakers, mainly spoken in Nepal and a few Northeast Indian states.

Maori is a language spoken by the minority native population of New Zealand. Mongolian is spoken in, you guessed it, Mongolia.

We tested out Punjabi and Nepali to English translations on a couple websites in Chrome to see if they were any good. For Punjabi, from what we can tell, it’s about the same quality as what you would get translating Chinese to English – far from perfect but manageable. Nepali was less coherent. I had trouble comprehending anything on the page, and many of the words were left untranslated. As users contribute better translations, the quality will likely improve.

In total, Google Translate now supports 80 languages.

Check out this link:

Google Translate adds support for four more Asian languages


26 Traditional Indian Foods That Will Change Your Life Forever

1. Biryani

What It Is: An aromatic rice dish cooked with several spices, notably saffron, and a protein (typically chicken or mutton) that’s been marinated.

2. Momos


What It Is: A variation on the traditional dimsum, native to the North Eastern states that border Nepal (where the dish originated), eaten with a fiery red chutney.

3. Idli

What It Is: A heavy South Indian breakfast food. A fermented batter of ground rice and lentils, steamed in little circular moulds.

4. Gulab jaamun

Gulab jaamun

What It Is: Small balls of dried milk, slow cooked and boiled in a sugar syrup.

5. Chole bhature

Chole bhature

What It Is: A spiced, curried chickpea dish served with a fried flour bread.

6. Nethili varuval

Nethili varuval

What It Is: Anchovies dipped in a paste of turmeric and red chilies and fried, native to the South Indian region Chettinad.

7. Kati roll

What It Is: A traditional street food popular across India (and abroad). A wrap of kebabs, eggs, vegetables, and spices rolled into paratha (a type of flat bread).

8. Rajma

What It Is: Kidney beans in a thick gravy popular across North India.

9. Pani puri

What It Is: A small crisp hollow round bread filled with spiced water, tamarind paste, potato, onion, and chickpeas.

10. Jalebi


What It Is: A wheat flour batter deep fried in coil-shapes and soaked in sugar syrup, served hot.

11. Tandoori chicken

Tandoori chicken

What It Is: Chicken marinated for hours in a paste of yogurt and spices, and then roasted (traditionally) in a clay oven called a tandoor.

12. Banana chips

What It Is: Thin slices of banana deep fried in savory spices.

13. Baingan bharta

Baingan bharta

What It Is: Roasted eggplant mashed together with a variety of other vegetables and spices, served with flatbread.

14. Dosa


What It Is: A crispy, flat bread (similar to a crepe or pancake) made of rice batter, served with a lentil sauce (sambar) and a variety of chutneys.

15. Bhelpuri


What It Is: Puffed rice fried with vegetables, in a spicy and tangy tamarind sauce.

16. Vada

What It Is: A South Indian snack staple made of a lentil or flour batter fried into a doughnut shape.

17. Bhindi masala fry

What It Is: Okra stuffed with spices, fried.

18. Rogan josh

Rogan josh

What It Is: A lamb curry of Persian origin, now popular in the Kashmir area. In India, rogan josh is often made using goat meat instead of lamb.

19. Dhokla


What It Is: A snack/breakfast food from the state of Gujurat, made of fermented rice and chickpea batter.

20. Gaajar halwa

What It Is: An extremely popular dessert, made by cooking grated carrot with milk, sugar, and dried fruits.

21. Pakora


What It Is: A fritter native to the Indian state Uttar Pradesh – one or more basic ingredients (onion, eggplant, potato, cauliflower, and chili peppers are all options) are dipped in gram flour and deep fried.

22. Rumali roti

What It Is: The word “rumal” is Hindi for handkerchief, and this bread resembles one; it is large, as thin as cloth, and served folded like a napkin.

23. Papri chaat

Papri chaat

What It Is: Crispy, fried dough wafers served with boiled potatoes, boiled chick peas, chilis, yogurt, tamarind chutney, and several spices.

24. Kulfi


What It Is: An iced preparation made from thickened milk, almonds and pistachios.

25. Recheado masala fish

Recheado masala fish

What It Is: A spicy paste made of chilies, tamarind, and garlic (amongst other spices) is rubbed onto whole fish which are then fried.

26. Samosas

And, finally, samosas.

What It Is: A fried or baked triangular snackfood made of a potato stuffing, usually also containing onions and peas, served with a mint chutney.

Check out this link:

26 Traditional Indian Foods That Will Change Your Life Forever


25 Beautifully Cluttered Cityscapes In Asia

1. Hong Kong

Hong Kong

2. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

3. Seoul, Korea

Seoul, Korea

4. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

5. Seoul, Korea

Seoul, Korea

6. Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

7. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

8. Jeju, Korea

Jeju, Korea

9. Ghorka, Nepal

Ghorka, Nepal

10. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

11. Hong Kong

Hong Kong

12. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

13. Zhejiang, China

Zhejiang, China

14. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

15. Chongqing, China

Chongqing, China

16. Fenghuang, China

Fenghuang, China

17. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

18. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

19. Penang, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

20. Ura-Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Ura-Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

21. Beijing, China

Beijing, China

22. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

23. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

24. Jiufen, Taiwan

Jiufen, Taiwan

25. Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan
Check out this link: