Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hundred family coat and lovers in the moonllight

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Hundred Family Coat

I finally have two images on silk which I am nearly satisfied with!
Here is Boachu with the golden phoenix wearing the hundred family coat, the coat made from pieces of clothing from the people of a hundred households in the village. He has just climbed out of the river the demons froze. The Hundred family coat kept him and the golden phoenix warm. Now he is at a fork in the road. The right hand one is paved and leads--apparently--to a warm friendly village. The other is narrow and rough and leads into the mountains. Which will he chose?
The other image is the lovers Shiwa and Humei, walking by West Lake in Hangzhou in the moonlight. Their story is coming.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Boachu and Golden Phoenix Rescue the Sun

Boachu and Golden


Rescue the Sun

            This image is from a Chinese story of how the sun was rescued. It seems that the sun went missing, and it was always dark. One man set out to find the sun, but he perished in the process. His son, Boachu, then went, accompanied by a golden phoenix.

            They had many adventures on the way. In one village, the people wanted to help Boachu, but they were very poor. Each household donated a small piece of their own clothing, which they made into a coat, the Hundred Family Coat. Another village had only dirt to give Boachu, so he filled his pockets with dirt.

            Boachu and the phoenix climbed many mountains, forded many rivers. Demons froze over one river, but the hundred family coat kept them warm. At one point, they came to a fork in the path. An old woman told them they should take the path to the right, and they would find a warm welcome, food and shelter.

Boachu started to follow the old woman, but the phoenix hit him with her wing to let him know that was the wrong way. Boachu ignored her, and followed the path to the village, where he did indeed find a warm welcome and lots of good food. But as he was about to take a bite, the phoenix dropped a shoe in his soup. Boachu saw that it was his father’s shoe, and he realized that these were demons and that they had killed his father.

            Boachu and the phoenix escaped and continued on. At last they came to the sea. Then  Boachu threw the dirt from his pocket into the water, and the dirt became islands so that they could cross the sea to where a Sea Dragon King had imprisoned the sun.

            Boachu fought the sea dragon until he defeated him then began pushing the sun up to the surface. But Boachu had no more energy and died. The Phoenix finished pushing up the sun, until at last the sun was free and could shine on everyone again.                  the end

Monday, December 7, 2009

couple in the moonlight

This one is a bit rough. It's a smaller, test version of an image I am doing from the story of Humei and Shiwa, lovers who turned into birds.  I haven't even steamed it and washed out the resist yet.
I've been thinking about stories, about why I am doing these images  from Chinese stories. I think it is because the stories explain to me something about Chinese thought, and they touch our own needs. All stories are teaching stories, often speaking to a part of us that has no words, even when we are not conscious of the lesson.  Some stories are born of our adolescence and teach concepts we may outgrow as we grow wiser. I'm thinking of the many many stories, movies, shows, etc, in western culture where the hero wins by might. Might makes right. Conflicts are solved with a gun or a fist. 
These stories have always troubled me, and I have wanted to counter them. The images I chose to illustrate are places where these Chinese stories speak to me, and I believe they may speak to others as well.