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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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