Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure — My Notebook

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure The SFMOMA has just reopened after three years of renovation. As a member of SFMOMA for many years, I am very excited of its new look and expansion. Due to work, I was only able to visit the museum twice on Thursday nights. Both visits were […]

via Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure — My Notebook

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern (3) – Terracotta Warriors and Patterns – Exhibition at Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (Part III)

This is my third post  in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Pattern.  This is also Part III of my post – the Terracotta Warriors.

If you have not seen my video, I highly recommend you to take a look.   I am re-posting the video here since many of you have missed it.

The patterns on these artifacts are very impressive. They demonstrate the advanced technology already used in China 2,700 years ago.  I found some interesting  information from the Asian Art Museum docent website and would like to share with you here. IMG_3406

“石甲 Suit of armor Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) Limestone Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology Catalog #91 in China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy H. 77 cm (30 5/16 in), W. 50 cm (19 11/16 in) This suit of armor, one of probably thousands still being found, consists of more than six hundred stone pieces laced with copper wire. Stone armor was too heavy to wear into battle, and was made instead for burial. Combat armor was made of leather or metal. This limestone armor and the helmet are constructed from fragments found in 1998 and 1999, in a pit thought to be the armory and located not far from the First Emperor’s tomb mound. The pit is estimated to cover 13,000 square meters. Excavation is ongoing, with more than 130 stone armor suits discovered to date. Only one-eightieth of the pit has been excavated.

鳳鳥紋瓦當 Roof tile end with phoenix motif Warring States period (475–221 BCE) Low-fired ceramicIMG_3434 Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology Catalog #61 in China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy Diam. 15 cm (5 7/8 in) Many roof tiles that include a phoenix reflect religious beliefs. Qin people believed that their primary ancestor was the “heavenly bird,” a reference to the phoenix. The bird represents a deity, corresponding to yang energy and the cardinal direction of the South. Phoenix roof tiles probably emerged in the early Qin period. According to ancient documents, a duke who died in 621 BCE built a Phoenix Tower for his daughter, who played the flute there for decades in dedication to “heavenly birds.” In return, it is said that the phoenix accompanied her as she ascended to heaven.

卷渦雲紋瓦當IMG_3435Roof tile end with swirling clouds Warring States period (475–221 BCE) Low-fired ceramic Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum Catalog #70 in China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy Diam. 15.3 cm (6 in), D. 2.4 cm (15/16 in)   IMG_3429

青銅鳳鳥紋扁盉 Ritual wine kettle with phoenix-shaped spout (he) Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BCE) bronze Excavated at

Bianj iazhuang in Longxian, Shaanxi, 1986 Longxian Museum, Shaanxi Catalog #7 in China’s Texacotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy H. 14 cm (5 1/2 in), W. 15 cm (5 7/8 in) Spouted kettles were used to serve drinks, mostly grain wine. A bird with a crest and hooked beak serves as the lid and also appears on the spout and each flat side. This sacred bird is referred to as the phoenix, and was regarded by Qin people as their primeval ancestor. Several kettles, including this one, were discovered in an old Qin capital near the northwestern border of Shaanxi.”

All the above description are quoted from the  the Asian Art Museum docent website.

Do you like the patterns on these artifacts?  I do.

Remember they were made 2,700 plus years ago!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern – Dali Catholic Church, a Beautiful Combination of Western and Eastern Architecture – My Yunnan Trip # 11

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Pattern

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During my recent Yunnan trip, one of the most impressive architectural structures was the Catholic Church in Dali, Yunnan.  I found it especially interesting because in China, you will find Buddhist temples almost everywhere. But it was the first time that I saw a Catholic Church on Chinese soil, with such a beautiful architectural representation of the East and West patterns.  Below, I posted a few pictures of the Catholic Church. If you click on any picture, it will open into a carousel and see each picture in big screen.  I want you to take a very close look at these pictures.  Did you see the traditional Chinese auspicious animals?  They are all ornate patterns.  The wooden structure belongs to the Bai minority style, which is unique.

The following description is extracted from the  Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration website:

“Dali Catholic Church is located in Xinmin Road of Dali Ancient Town. Including 9 chapels, it was originally built in 1927 by a French bishop Ye Meizhang, and covers 470 square meters, about 36 meters long and 13 meters wide. The complex is a typical post and lintel construction in the style of double eaves with hip and gable walls; its lower and upper eaves both employ corbel arches and flying eaves, and every arch has four buttresses engraved with Chinese traditional auspicious animals and birds such as Dragon and Phoenix etc.

In the east of the church, an altar has been built for Virgin Mary; while in the west, it’s a gate tower modeled after Bai minority traditional residence whose top is a vestry roofed with eaves at four corners. The gate tower also employs multi-layer corbel arches and flying eaves, all of which are of superb workmanship. As a whole, the church complex adopts wooden structures of Bai minority style and thus is deemed as a combination of Chinese and Western architectures. In 1983, it was fortunately listed among the key protected relic items by Dali Prefecture Government.”

Other references you may like to look into:  Dali Catholic Church – On the Road,  another Blog on WordPress.  It posted quite a few pictures including a picture of the church inside.

I didn’t see a lot of discussion about the architecture of this building, but would appreciate if some of you would give me and other readers some of your impressions about the architecture of this building.  If you are an architect or architecture student, you are more than welcome to join our conversation here!