Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Building work on the YongHeGong Temple started in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty. It originally served as an official residence for court eunuchs. It was then converted into the court of Prince YongZheng (Yin Zhen), a son of emperor KangXi. After YongZheng's ascension to the throne in 1722, half of the building was converted into a lamasery, a monastery for monks of Tibetan Buddhism, while the other half remained an imperial palace. Unfortunately I could only find Chinese batteries around this area, so I ran out of batteries after a few pictures and couldnt take any more, but there were lots of really cool statues, people burning incense everywhere, and maybe a thirty or forty foot tall Buddha carved from one tree, with a plaque outside from Guinness Records (Ive inserted someone else's shot below).
798 is like Beijing's Chelsea, and most people seem to see it as the center of the Chinese art world. There are plenty of complaints about it though, such as the feeling that with the explosion of interest in Chinese artists, it has become over-commercialized (like Chelsea) and of course, the usual complaints about some of the Chinese art itself, which is sometimes not well executed, maybe has a weak concept, or more often than not, is imitating something that someone has noticed is already successful. Unfortunately, I made my trip as many galleries were shutting down for the Chinese New Year Spring Festival, so I dont think I got a fair shake of what's usually on offer.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, December 22, 2008
I thought the best part of our trip was the visit to this martial-arts school, where an army of children pulled out all the stops to give us this amazing, long performance! I couldn't help feeling that with this kind of discipline, the Chinese are going to be formidable. When I noticed that the little kids there were also learning English, my buddy commented, "That's so they'll be able to give you orders in your own language."