Monday, September 24, 2007

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Dead Fish

I'm happy the hub is home. One of my three lucky fish in the travel area of our house died. No wonder. Bella sticks her nose in there every day and drinks water from the bowl. Poor little fellow. I'll have to go and replace him tomorrow to keep the Feng Shui mojo going right.

Speaking of China , relatively, the hub made it home safely. He was given a lovely gift from one of his colleagues there. He's so sweet, he gave it to me to hold my ATCs in. Awwww. It's a beautiful box, made for business cards I suppose, with lovely angels on the front. I had never heard of The Flying Apsaras of Dunhuang. Of course I looked it up and this is what I found:

Feitian in Dunhuang

In the flourishing age of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), mural art achieved such a high level that feitian embodied the national characteristics in Dunhuang, Gansu Province.

The Sui and early Tang emperors (581-755) were obsessed with feitian: They constructed mechanical devices in their palaces so feitian could raise curtains to recreate the Buddhist paradise. During this period the art of feitian at Dunhuang reached its zenith. It was also a period of China's greatest control and involvement in the Silk Road trade which snaked through Dunhuang. Early Tang-era caves depict feitian in large numbers and various postures and moods. Many were depicted as heavenly musicians or as dancers. The features of the early Tang feitian became more refined and more Chinese: The figure is lighter and the drapery, more subtle, although the color intensity remains the same.

The feitian of the middle Tang Dynasty (755-845) neither had wings nor rode on clouds -- it flew gently and danced in a carefree manner with a long scarf. The trends of feminization and refinement of feitian continued throughout the mid Tang. Feitian became increasingly detailed, losing much of its color intensity.

There are more than 4,500 fei tian in the Dunhuang caves distributed throughout more than 270 of the remaining 492 caves. Feitian in these caves are depicted as young girls with slim figures and plump faces, an unstrained manner and gentle mood. Interestingly, feitian in Dunhuang are bare without wings or feathers. Instead, a moving scene depicting a group of girls flying and dancing freely in the sky can be found here. Some girls are seen weaving through the clouds and rivers, carrying fruits; others are playing musical instruments. The Buddhist picture of feitian is a vivid representation of ancient people longing for freedom.

After reading about the flying apsaras, I knew I had found the mystery behind two of our Chinese rugs. The one I have here in our study actually has the feitian flying about. I always wondered about them. I thought they were angels and is why I was drawn to it. We have a smaller version in our family room. Now, I have the complete story behind them. Fascinating.


And, while still on the subject of China; several weeks back, the hub had another colleague visiting from Beijing. We went to a bbq at one of the office's co-worker's house who was nice enough to invite everyone out. My house is completely out of commission, obviously. Everyone in the hub's office is so nice. A great bunch of folks. It was a wonderful time. I'm always so reluctant to go to these functions as I am so terribly shy, almost to the point of phobic. But, as always, with a little push, I go and have the most wonderful time. It was a great day. The next evening, we took Allen (his American name) to a big dinner at Maggiano's, a great Italian restaurant where they serve family style. We thought he would get a kick out of that. We were even able to coax the teenager to meet us there so we had the entire family with us. It may be the last time were are able to entertain as a family. Soon, he will be gone. Sniff sniff. Anyway, Allen had brought a nice gift for the hub. It's a beautiful souvenir pen set from the upcoming Chinese Olympics next summer. (Yes, everyone is pushing me to go. Do I think I could handle that long on an airplane??? Uh uh.) We'll see.

The guys are here (yes!) putting in cabinets. I can't wait for them to leave so I can peek in and see at least some of my cabinets in the kitchen. They've been in the garage all summer long. I am so excited. Of course, I will keep you posted.

And, before I forget, a big thank you to all who have expressed concern regarding my mother. You all are angels to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you, dearly. She's doing great!



1 comment:

PEA said...

Hello dear Rosa:-) Finally catching up with your news...I don't visit for a couple of days and look at all the posts I missed! lol Sounds like things are finally coming together in the kitchen...I bet it will be a long time before you want another room remodeled??? lol Oh wow, that box your hubby brought back from China is gorgeous and I so enjoyed reading the story behind those angels! So sorry to hear one of your fishies died:-( Glad to hear your hubby made it home safely!! xoxo

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