The Healing Flower of Riches and Honor

July 27, 2016

Pearl S. Buck (1892 – 1973; awarded the 1932 Pulitzer Prize and 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature) loved the peony and so did the Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi (1835 – 1908).  The Chinese Peony is the Paeonia lactiflora. Along with the plum blossom, the peony is a traditional floral symbol of Mongolia and China. The peony comes as a shrub and a tree.

The peony is also known as the “flower of riches and honor” and is used symbolically in Chinese art. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty made the peony the national flower. Today, there is no national flower in the PRC, but the tree peony can be regarded as a national favorite. Taiwan—on the other hand—has named the plum blossom as the national flower for its island territory.

The World Health Organization reports that the dried root of the Radix Paeonia (red peony) is used to treat dementia, headache, vertigo, spasms of the calf muscles, liver disease, and allergies and as an anticoagulant. These uses have been described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine claims that drinking Bai Mudan (white peony tea) helps dispel heat within the body and enhances immune function while protecting the heart and blood vessels.


Ode to Peonies

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Poetry from the Golden Age of Chinese Art and Literature

April 20, 2016

The Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD) is regarded as one of the most prosperous times in China’s long history.

It was also the golden age of Chinese art and literature.

Crossing the Han River
Song Zhi-wen (656 – 712 AD)

No news, no letters – all winter, all spring —
     Beyond the mountains.
With every homeward step more timid still
I dare not even inquire of passerby
.

Song Zhi-wen, the poet, was found guilty of accepting bribes and executed. He had good reason to fear returning home from exile.


In this video is a famous Tang poem.

The classical form of Chinese poetry developed in the late Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and reached its peak during the Tang Dynasty.

Most Tang poems have four or eight lines, with five and seven Chinese characters in each line following certain rules.

Another example of Tang Dynasty poetry is Spring Perspective by Du Fu (712 – 770 AD).

When the post of prime minister was awarded to a cousin of the imperial concubine, there was the military rebellion of An Lu–shan in 755 AD.

The nation has fallen, the land endures
Spring trees and grasses flourish in the town.
Troubled by the times — flowers bring tears;
Dreading parting — birds startle the soul.

With turmoil of battle three months on end,
A letter from home is worth a fortune in gold.
As it is, they can barely hold a pin.

This poem demonstrates what happens when the Chinese people get tired of nepotism and corruption, which should be heeded as a warning today to crack down on corruption in Communist China.

The next poem is one of many that Yuan Zhen (779 – 831 AD) wrote for his dead wife, who he married when he was poor. She did not live long enough to share his fame and fortune.

In former years, we chatted carelessly of death and what it means
     to die.
Since then, it’s passed before my very eyes.
I’ve given almost all your clothes away
But cannot bear to move your sewing things.
Remembering your past attachments, I’ve been kind to maids you
     loved.
I’ve met your soul in dreams and ordered sutras sung.
Certainly, I know this sorrow comes to all
But to poor and lowly couples, everything life brings is sad.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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China’s Wu Guanzhoung is one of the world’s fathers of expressionism.

April 19, 2016

Wu Guanzhong (1919 – 2010) is known as the father of Chinese Expressionism. He was born in Yixing, Jiangsu Province, China. He was a graduate of the National Art College in 1942, and studied oil painting in Paris from 1947-1950.

When Wu returned to China from France in 1950, he taught Western art to his students at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing until 1953. He then taught art at Tsinghua University in Beijing 1953 – 1964.

Due to criticism that Wu had been influenced by Western bourgeois ideas, in 1966, during the beginning of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Wu was told he could not paint or write about art. To avoid persecution and possible execution by the rampaging teenage Red Guard, he burned many of his paintings.

In 1970, he was separated from his wife and spent three years working at hard labor in the countryside as part of Mao’s re-education program.

After Mao died in 1976 with China now led by Deng Xiaoping, Wu was allowed to paint again. He had his first professional solo exhibition in 1979, and succeed as a professional artist in the 1980s.

 Wu Guanzhoung’s painting of Shakespeare’s hometown was listed to sell for
RMB: 2 million ($US 318,878) – 2.5 million ($US 398,597).

During his life as an art teacher and a professional artist, his goal was to introduce French modernism to the Chinese world of art while preserving China’s cultural identity.

Wu combined his French training and Chinese background to develop a semiabstract style to depict scenes from the Chinese landscape. Before he died, Wu had solo exhibitions in major art galleries and museums around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Taipei, Korea, England and the US.

In 1992, Wu was honored by the French Ministry of Culture. He died at age 90.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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On The Great Wall: Part 3 of 3

April 8, 2016

 

On our way back to Beijing from The Great Wall at Mutianyu, our driver stopped at a factory-showroom where we learned about the manufacturing techniques for Cloisonné brass vases.

I’ve read some tourists/expatriates complain about these stops, but I enjoy window shopping and this was something new—sometimes I even buy stuff.  In this case, I bought three vases (photos included).

First, we went on a tour where we watched men and women creating these vases. Once the tour was over, we went to the showroom.

The vases I bought (after negotiating the price) are yellow with a blue trim.  One has a blue dragon on it, the second a phoenix beside a chariot, and the third running horses. Each one is about the size of my hand but larger around.

The cloisonné process is enamel on copper craftwork. It first appeared in Beijing in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and continued during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Cloisonné vases are crafted by using a copper porcelain process. The vase is made from copper with brass wires soldered to the body. Then a porcelain glaze is applied to cells between the brass wires.

After a series of complex procedures, such as burning, burnishing and gilding, the cloisonné vase is done. Chinese name: 景泰蓝(jǐng tài lán)

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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A simple drama with song and dance

April 5, 2016

Anqing, in Anhui Province, is regarded as the hometown of Huangmei Opera and Hui Opera. Anqing was first built in 1217 and is almost eight-hundred years old, but Huangmei Opera first appeared about two centuries ago as a simple drama of song and dance.

Huangmei opera does not involve the traditional opera gestures which often-used sleeves and step movements. The music is performed with a pitch that hits high and stays high and does not sound like the typical rhythmic Chinese opera.

The fairy tale of the Cowherd and the Weaving Girl is one of the four most famous folktales of ancient China. It is a classic love story between a fairy and a human being and has a widespread influence. The Qixi Festival is said to have something to do with the fairy tale, and the seventh day of every seventh month of the lunar calendar has become the Chinese Valentine’s Day.


Huangmei Opera Troupe

Chinese opera together with Greek tragic-comedy and Indian Sanskrit Opera are the three oldest dramatic art forms in the world. During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), the Emperor Taizong established an opera school with the poetic name Liyuan (Pear Garden). Over more than 800 years, Chinese opera evolved into many different regional varieties based on local traits and accents. Huangmei Opera is one of them.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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The 2,553 year old Chimes of Marquis Yi

March 2, 2016

In 1977, a discovery was made in China—a complete set of chime bells was unearthed from the tomb of Marquis Yi, who lived during the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC). These chimes were older than the Qin Dynasty’s famous Terra Cotta warriors (221 to 206 B.C.) that guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the emperor that unified China.

When the chimes were discovered in Hubei Province (located in Central China), a plot of land was being leveled to build a factory.  The Red Army officer in charge of the work had an interest in archeology.

The officer discovered that the workers were selling the ancient bronze and iron artifacts they were digging up. He convinced local authorities there might be an ancient tomb buried below the site.

When the tomb was unearthed, a set of chime bells was found.  These musical instruments were an important part of ritual and court music dating. An American professor in New York City even called these chimes the eighth wonder of the ancient world.

The sixty-five chime bells weighed about 5 tons.

No other set of chimes like these had been discovered in China before, and this set was in excellent condition.

A project was launched in 1979 to duplicate four sets of these chimes. More than a 100 scientists and technicians were recruited.  In 1998, twenty years after the discovery, the project was completed. One of the sets was sent to Taiwan as a gift.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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Book Promotion for “My Splendid Concubine” on Sale for $0.99

January 16, 2016

“My Splendid Concubine” is based on a true story. A larger-than-life bronze statue of Robert Hart, ordered by the Emperor of China, was placed on the Bund in Shanghai, China to honor this Irishman, and it stood for several decades before the Japanese removed it during World War II and turned the metal into bullets. It took almost a decade to research and write this novel.

#Irish in 19th century #China
Based on REAL #LoveStory
222
4&5-star reviews
#HistFic
http://www.mysplendidconcubine.com/

99 cent sale from Jan 16 - 18 2016

Thanks to his live-in Dictionary
He became China’s godfather of modernism
#HistFic
#LoveStory
http://wp.me/P2mPRS-I

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Two 99 cent sale Jan 16 - 18 2016

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