Yuyuan Garden

Gong Xi Fa Cai!  This is a wish for you to be prosperous in the coming year.

According to the Chinese zodiac, January 31, 2014 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. We are entering the Chinese Year of the Horse.  Predictions are that this year will be full of adventures and challenges.   I will celebrate this momentous event by remembering the words of a Laozi, the legendary philosopher of ancient China, founder of philosophical Taoism.

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Laozi, Tao Te Ching

The photos are of the Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai.  This garden is an excellent model of classical Chinese gardening architecture.  Built during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing (1559), for the private use of Pan Yunduan, an administration commissioner of Sichuan Province. Inside the walls, precious cultural relics show the best of China’s tradition of art.

Celebrations, China, Happy New Year, Laozi

Happy Chinese New Year

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26 thoughts on “Happy Chinese New Year

  1. Hi Rebecca: Thank you for all your excellent posts in these two months when I missed blogging a lot due to my work. Tonight I read all your posts from Georgia O’ Keeffe to Chinese Garden and Chinese Ink art. You have stimulated my interest to read more about these artists and artwork. I was writing on your Cezanne post but lost it. i want to say something about modern Chinese art. Initially I wasn’t too thrilled about modern Chinese art. Yet, after seeing an exhibition on Modern Asian art at Asian Art Museum, my acceptance of this new rising art movement, has surprisingly changed. On my first post on WordPress, I posted this…..just want to refresh my memory. If you are interested, here’s my first post! i did not even remember that there was not even one ” like”!

    http://denisec88.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/asian-art-museum-blog-breathing-flower-comes-to-life-in-civic-center-plaza/

    About Georgia O’ Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, I vaguely remember i saw an exhibition about the photos that he took of her. I did not particularly look up their private life and relationship history. With your posts, I searched for stories, and found them! I wonder if the film is an interesting one.

    I saw Ansel Adams’ exhibition with O’Keeffe’s works in the same show. It described their friendship and how they shared their love of nature. However, there is very little information online describing their art influencing each other.

    Recently I am interested in reading totem poles which I saw in Yunnan. I saw another blog which cited totem poles along some beaches in U,S. That post has roused my interest. I researched a little and bought some books. Still not able to find out why totem poles exist in different cultures in relatively the same form,,,,from Alaska, North America to China, Japan and Taiwan. There was no transportation at that time…

    I ramble too much tonight!

    • I enjoyed your ramblings!!! The more I look into the history of art and artists the more I realize that in our effort to “understand” a work of art, we miss the opportunity to experience the creative flow. Your comments re: totem poles have sparked my interest. Thanks for the link to your first post!!

  2. Hi Rebecca: happy year of the horse! Thank you for another excellent post. Your garden pix are beautiful! The City of Suzhou, called the city of Gardens, has many gardens in different styles, it is very near to Shangai. Worth to pay a visit next time you go to a China, do think about it.

    • Ah, Denise!!!! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful place to visit. I found this video on the Unesco Youtube channel. There is a perfect balance of nature in every aspect of the planning.

      • Indeed , Suzhou is perfect for you, Rebecca. In the Ming, Ching Dynasties, literary men gathered in Suzhou Gardens to read poems, played music, write calligraphy, did brush painting etc, this was the typical life of this group in suzhou.

        Also, check out I M Pei’s Suzhou museum. There are many links talking about him returning to China to build this museum. I also found a good quote for your collection: he said something like this….in .the western world, building is a building, garden is a garden. In China, building and garden are one, in perfect harmony.

        Sorry need to sleep…will find the actual quote for you. This is only in my memory. It is not the exact quote….perhaps you will find it…

      • In China, “architecture and the garden are one,” he said. “A Western building is a building, and a garden is a garden. They’re related in spirit. But they are one in China.” ~ I M Pei

      • I was especially interested in how they used a window to frame the garden much like we would hang a fine painting. There is a profound sense of being one with the garden, earth and sky.

      • Glad that you like my quote! perhaps i will take it as my own, hee hee!

        About the window framing the garden, when I was there visiting the Suzhou Gardens, there were indeed many windows where you looked out into the beautiful gardens. If you have not been there, perhaps you have visited the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. There is the Astor Chinese Garden Court, a courtyard recreated at the museum. This video is quite interesting.

        http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/78870?img=1#fullscreen

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astor_Court

      • Thank you for these most excellent links! I have figured out how to open a “MyMet” account so that I can access this link quickly. I have never been to the Met Museum but this is a wonderful way to travel over the wires. :) :) :) Vancouver is fortunate to have the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Whenever I need a quiet moment, that is the place to be!!!

        http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/

  3. Yes, Happy Chinese New Year. The year of the horse, I understand that it will be a very good year. How beautiful is Chinese art. It would be good to see and maybe even touch it–the photos are so pretty.

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I agree that Chinese art has a beauty that draws from the harmony of nature. Have you ever noticed that flowers seem to pose for the camera – their beauty always shines through!

    • Thank you, LaVagabonde! So glad that you liked the photos. Vancouver has a similar garden named after Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of the Republic of China. He spent some time in Vancouver on one of his frequent exiles. There is so much detail that goes into a classical Chinese garden: the harmony of four main elements – rock, water, plants and architecture. It is all about the perfect balance, yin and yang. Every time I go, I feel a profound feeling of harmony.

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