Monday, 31 August 2009
This was one of our first experiences of that kind. We were on our way to the Great Wall and the guide took us to this Cloisonné (Chinese enamel ware) factory. The factory itself was fascinating, a seemingly haphazard amalgam of stunning colours, base material and shambolic apparatus leading to a fantastic product. I tried to capture the effect photographically; here are some of the results.
The Cloisonné technique involves placing copper wires on a base shape, repeatedly filling the troughs with enamel and firing until the glaze is built up. It is then polished down and the wire electroplated. We did buy a vase, even though it appeared a little expensive, but the quality of it is much higher than the copies you can buy cheaply on the streets.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Wen Tian Xiang, a formative figure of Chian from the Song Dynasty. The gatekeeper seemed surprised to see us, and happily took our 20p entrance fee (compared to the £4+ at the larger attractions) and we were left to wander the site on our own - very unusual in China. These photos highlight the Chinese obsession with renovation; the new stone is the one presented and the old one is tucked away in a strange, museum like collection of artefacts. You are left on your own to realise that the one is the copy of the other.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
We had hired a private guide for this visit, which substantially improved our experience. She was able to provide the background and to work our way around the crowds rather than through them. When I asked her, "Isn't this dangerous here? Aren't people going to get hurt?" Her answer was "Oh yes, they do, quite often". There is a way that the cavalier disregard for Health & Safety is almost comforting, but when it comes down to it, if I had to choose between this or our own (somewhat-over)nanny state approach, safety would win. It's just a shame there isn't a happier medium.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
I've found a link to a 360 view so you can see it in situ here: http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/china/ming-qing/beijing/forbidden-city/court-of-eternal-longevity/sphere-quicktime.html
Friday, 21 August 2009
While I'm at it, a little background. This is not a "normal" blog of mine, this is being created for me to remember, and to help me crystallise thoughts that are floating around in my head. It's a useful device for writing to talk to you, but then you may not even be there, and even if you are there you may not be listening, no matter. While I'm still writing this blog it there will be pictures some days, other days there may not be any. So now you know.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
But don't get the udea that this is about being green - this is all about money. Just because they use bicycles, they still all aspire to cars.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
What I didn't manage to capture as it went by so fast was on the taxi ride into town: a sweeper like this sweeping the side of the motorway. No protection, no high viz, no hard shoulder. We were in a different country for sure.
The adventure begins.