China’s First Emperor’s Warriors are going home! Last week to visit them at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Part IV – the Waterbirds

As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking a few of my colleagues at lunchtime to see the Terracotta Warriors as it is the last week of the exhibition at the Asian Art Museum.  After the visit today, one of them told me that her favorites are the waterbirds.  If you have read Part II or the second post about this exhibition, you may notice I also said that I found the waterbirds most interesting.  To satisfy my curiosity, I searched and looked around, and found some interesting remarks from scholars and curators.  The following information is extracted from the Asian Art Museum Docent Website

Waterbirds

In 2001 a pit containing fifteen terracotta musicians and forty-six life-size bronze waterbirds was found about three kilometers northeast of the First Emperor’s tomb. The birds, which retain some of their original pinkish paint, were discovered on the banks of an artificial waterway. Some archaeologists believe the pit represents a royal park or sacred water garden. Water was the Qin dynasty‘s chosen symbol because it extinguishes fire, the element associated with the preceding Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 BCE).

I also searched for information at  iTunes U.  Press 5 and 6, and you will hear an audio recording about the waterbirds.

Scholars or curators are all amazed at these waterbirds,  not only of their life-size scale,  but also of the different charming poses.  None of them is identical.   Some have leisurely poses as if they are gliding gracefully on the pond,  while some are stretching their long neck looking for food.  There are 6 cranes flanked by 20 swans and 20 geese with 15 warriors surrounding them. 

Apart from the sacred water garden theory, there is another interpretation:  the whole set of waterbirds signifies heaven and earth, which is part of the design of the underground palace.  What is buried on the ground is not really underground,  but represents a replica of the celestial world.  What about the 15 warriors surrounding the birds?  Some scholars think that they may be musicians, and some think they are archers.   It looks like that the music theory does not quite hold because no musical instrument was found.   The archers’ theory is more receptive by many scholars, because bow and arrows were found nearby.  Also, in the ancient days, capturing  birds may represent the arrival of spring, which means the rejuvenation of life.

No matter which theory holds, I think these waterbirds have characters and are attractive to many viewers.  Do you want to see them again?  Only a few more days are left!

Coming Soon

Apart from the waterbirds, I am actually very interested in studying the warriors.  None is identical.  Please stay tuned for the next few posts!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture #2 – My Yunnan Trip #9: What is the Totem Pole in Yunnan?

Arts and Cultures are inseparable!

My Notebook

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture. This is my second posting on this Challenge which is very interesting to me.

I always thought that totem poles only existed in places where natives Indians lived.  I saw quite a few in Alaska and Canada.  After my visit to Yunnan, I realized that I was so ignorant.  I saw totem poles in Lijiang, and then some for decorative purpose in Kunming.  So, Chinese people do have totem poles!  When I came back, I researched a little and educated myself.  If you are interested, here’s some information I got.

What is a totem?

“A totem is a being, object, or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a familyclan, group, lineage, or tribe, reminding them of their ancestry (or mythic past).

View original post 521 more words

Art Jeopardy — I was #1

I am writing this post for all my friends who have recently participated in the discussion or presentation of Art Nouveau and/ or Art Deco. I just came back from a cruise. There was a game called Art Jeopardy. I participated, and won! There were questions on artists, art history, art movements, museums etc. I did not get every answer right, but I did get this correct: there was a question on art movement. The answer was Art Deco, and I was right! Of course I also made big “bets” and therefore I happened to be the winner! Then I attended the art auction…and of course I bought something….had to break my bank! That’s the cost …being a winner!!

Well, I did have fun on the cruise. This was one of the highlights. Thanks to all of you who gave me this learning opportunities about Art Nouveau and Art Deco. As I mentioned somewhere in other blogs, I did not learn about art formally in school, but I am a lifetime learner. Art was my first love, and it would forever be one of my love affairs!

Thank you all! See you later!

20120911-033801.jpg
These are two pictures showing an art introduction program on the cruise. I did not take picture of the Art Jeopardy because I was a participant.

20120911-034806.jpg

San Francisco Palace Hotel – is this door Art Nouveau?

20120829-025055.jpg

I just posted on my other blog ” My Notebook” about the historic tour at the San Francisco Palace Hotel.

http://speakingabouttravel2.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/san-francisco-palace-hotel-historic-tour-and-lunch-my-favorite-program-for-out-of-town-guests/

I am recently very interested in looking at doors and windows ( see my post on Belvedere Palace window and Freer Gallery window) http://speakingabouttravel2.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/the-window-at-belvedere-palace-in-vienna-and-the-window-at-the-freer-gallery-of-art-in-washington-d-c/

I wonder if this door Art Nouveau? The hotel was rebuilt in 1909 after the 1906 earthquake. I think the design and the period ….looks like that it is Art Nouveau? I know many experts of Art Nouveau are following my blog ( what an honor!). I would like to ask you for your comments. Thanks.

20120829-030540.jpg

This is the window at the French Parlor in the Palace Hotel. The window opens out to see the full view of the beautiful Garden Court Restaurant downstairs. It is a replica made here in Emeryville. I wonder if the original window with this design in the 1909 period…would it be Art Nouveau?…..I am just guessing. Would love to hear from my fellow bloggers! Thanks.

P.S. I am using the WordPress app on my iPad. It is very convenient for short posts particularly. I highly recommend this app to my fellow bloggers!

What is Art Deco? Is it the same as Art Nouveau?

Today, I took my brother and sister-in-law who came from Australia, to visit San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).  After the museum visit, when we were on our way from SF MOMA to the Westfield Shopping Center, we saw this beautiful design of a building across the street from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  I took some pictures of the different levels of the hotel, as my camera (iPad) has limited capacity to include the tall building in one picture.

The other picture was taken from SFMOMA , where we saw the top levels of the building, but other buildings had covered the other parts of this beautiful design.

I looked up the name of this building, and found that it is the San Francisco Skyscraper Hotel.  It is an Art Deco design. Then I realize that it is quite similar to a building’s design in Prague, which I had posted on this blog .    Since they are so similar, is Art Deco the same as Art Nouveau?

A building in Prague, Czech Republic at the intersection of Wenceslas Square and Na Prikope Street

What exactly is Art Deco?

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

According to Wikipedia:

“Art Deco ” or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s and into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and jewelry, as well as the visual arts such as painting, graphic arts and film. The term “art deco” was coined in 1966, after an exhibition in Paris, ‘Les Années 25’ sub-titled Art Deco, celebrating the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) that was the culmination of style moderne in Paris. At its best, art deco represented elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity. Art deco’s linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical organic curves of its predecessor style art nouveau; it embraced influences from many different styles of the early twentieth century, including neoclassicalconstructivismcubism,modernism and futurism and drew inspiration from ancient Egyptian and Aztec forms. Although many design movements have political or philosophical beginnings or intentions, art deco was purely decorative.”

.Is Art Nouveau the same as Art Decor?  I looked it up.  This is the best answer :

They are two different art styles, with Art Deco evolving partially from Art Nouveau. Here is a good website comparing the two:
For Art Nouveau, think of the posters of Mucha, Women in flowing robes and floral ornaments. For Art Deco, think Bauhaus, it’s less ornate than Art Nouveau and more simplistic.”The Art Nouveau style appeared in the early 1880s and was gone by the eve of the First World War.””Art Deco was a popular design movement from 1920 until 1939, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. This movement was, in a sense, an amalgam of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism.”

Source(s):

Please also see my previous posts on Art Nouveau in Prague.  I like both Art Nouveau and Art Deco.  What about you?