“Yellow Crane Tower”

Wuhan, Hubei Province, China (Photo: Gosia Sachse aka Głowacka, 21.04.2013)

Yellow Crane Tower (ChinesepinyinHuánghè Lóu) is a traditional Chinese tower located in Wuhan. The current structure was built in 1981, but the tower has existed in various forms from as early as AD 223. The current Yellow Crane Tower is 51.4 m (169 ft) high and covers an area of 3,219 m2 (34,650 sq ft). It is situated on Snake Hill (蛇山), one kilometer away from the original site, on the banks of the Yangtze River in Wuchang District.

The Yuanhe Maps and Records of Prefectures and Counties, written almost 600 years after the construction of the tower, notes that after Sun Quan, founder of the kingdom of Eastern Wu, built the fort of Xiakou in 223, a tower was constructed at/on the Yellow Crane Jetty, west of Xiakou, and hence its name.

The tower has been destroyed twelve times, both by warfare and by fire, in the Ming and Qing dynasties and was repaired on ten separate occasions. The last tower at the original site was built in 1868 and destroyed in 1884. In 1907, a new tower was built near the site of the Yellow Crane Tower. Zhang Zhidong proposed ‘奥略楼‘ (Aoliaolou Hall) as the name for this tower and wrote an antithetical couplet for it. In 1957, the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was built with one trestle of the bridge on the Yellow Crane Tower’s site. In 1981, the Wuhan City Government commenced reconstruction of the tower at a new location, about 1 km (0.62 mi) from the original site on Snake Hill, and it was completed in 1985.

According to legend, the impressive Yellow Crane Tower was created as a symbol of gratitude from a local tavern owner to a poor Taoist monk who, in gratitude for his hospitality, for which he did not pay at all, drew a crane on the wall of the local crane, which, enlivened by his words, began to dance, thus attracting a crowd of guests and making a friendly family rich.

The symbolism of a turtle with a snake wrapped around it, on which a pair of cranes stands, is also very interesting.

In ancient China, the turtle and snake were, in religious and spiritual terms, symbols of longevity. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese often wore turtle-shaped pendants and amulets. As a result of the influence of Chinese culture on neighboring Japan, Japanese noble titles and public dignity were associated with the right to use the symbol of the turtle.

One of the legends of the time tells of a female turtle that could not make friends with male turtles, but only with snakes. This aroused the anger of the turtle, which the female repelled, marking the area around her with urine. Since the spread of this legend, males call their female partners “turtles” when they suspect them of infidelity, and the turtle ceased to have a symbolic meaning as bringing happiness.

The artistic presentation of Xuánwǔ, often translated as Black Turtle, shows this creature as a cross between a turtle and a snake, what may have its source in the legend cited above. It should be noted, however, that such an interpretation does not explain the existence of this type of representation earlier, during the Zhou Dynasty.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Today, Wuhan is more associated with the coronovirus epidemic (COVID-19) that appeared in this city at the end of 2019 and has caused the whole world to stand still in the face of such a great threat. It continues to cause more and more victims and has a significant impact on the lives of both the social and economic dimensions of the whole world. Its containment depends on creating in all of us a sense of solidarity and cooperation and a shift in thinking from “I” to “we”. Today, nature says  “I check up” and it is up to each of us individually and all of us together to pass this test of humanity.

“Southern Song dynasty”

DSC_0812.JPGSculptor: Mr Sun Yat-sen, Hangzhou, Chiny (Photo: Gosia Glowacka, 18.04.2013)

A family of four generations on the junction of Zhongshan road and Xihu Avenue is one of the most popular scenes on the street. Created based on a picture of a big family that used to live on Zhongshan road, the sculpture is comprised of 32 family members at different ages posing before a camera with big smiles on their faces. Tourists are likely to be seen posing as a family member and taking photos.

(source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/m/hangzhou/e/2009-12/30/content_9248801.htm)

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What a wonderful treasure have those, who love and are loved by their own family, and are not just nice posing to photos …

 

“Phallic Rock”

Kharkhorin, Province Övörkhangai, Mongolia (Photo: Orgil Oogil, 13.06.2016)

Kharkhorin Rock, also Kharkarin Rock or Phallic Rock, is a large statue of a penis raised on a platform on the steppe, located near Erdene Zuu Monastery (part of the World Heritage Site entitled Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape) in Kharkhorin, Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia. The phallic rock statue has dual functions; primarily it is a reminder to the monks to remain celibate, but it is also a symbol of fertility and human life.A 60-centimetre (24 in) long stone statue is located near Kharkhorin.

Legend states that a monk who had vowed to be celibate had turned out to be a womanizer. As punishment he was castrated to remind him of his vows of celibacy. As a warning to the other inmate monks of the monastery, a rock in the shape of a penis was prominently engraved as a stone phallus called “Kharkhorin Rock” within walking distance from the monastery, to remind them that they should not be indulging in any sexual activity with the local women.

(source: Wikipedia)

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In today’s Poland it is more difficult to find those who can perform castration than those who should be castrated  as punishment for breaking the vows of celibacy. Not to mention those who are living in voluntary celibacy and should be able to see every day, from the their villa’s windows, such statue with the inscription “From the Nation to its Self-appointed Savior.”

“Pipa”

Gosia in China 1 176DSC_0461Humble Administrator’s Garden (Chinese: 拙政园; pinyin: Zhuōzhèng yuán), Suzhou, China (Photo: Gosia Głowacka, April 2013)

During my first trip to China I put on my “to do” list the Humble Administrator’s Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage object – one of the most famous gardens in Suzhou. After admiring the beautiful thumbnail trees, the stunning appearance, the smell of flowers and the singing birds which allow one to forget about all the hardships of the day, as the culmination point of these unique aesthetic experiences, somewhere in the distance a singing voice and gentle sounds of a stringed instrument could be heard. Guided by the voice I reached a small lake located in the western part of the garden, and … time has stopped … There was only this Chinese girl singing traditional Chinese songs and accompanying herself on the Chinese lute (called Pipa)

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The pipa (Chinese: 琵琶; pinyin: pípa, [pʰǐpʰǎ]) is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26. Another Chinese four-string plucked lute is the liuqin, which looks like a smaller version of the pipa.

The pipa is one of the most popular Chinese instruments and has been played for almost two thousand years in China. (source: Wikipedia)

 

“Digital Flower”

Gosia in China 1 044Made by: Philip F. Yuan, Shanghai, China (Photo: Gosia Głowacka April 2013)

Digital Flower was created during Digital FUTURE Workshop 2012 in Shanghai at the Tongji University by the leader Philip F. Yuan. He finished a series of “Digital Garden” projects with the help of workshop’s instructors and students. The series of “Digital Garden” projects are composed of four projects: “Digital Flower” is a landscape installation at the entrance of MoCA’s front square, it combines mathematical complexity with functionality of form, multi-dimensional space and abstract nature, it shows the designer understands for the garden of the future. “Mechanical Garden” is an interactive wall made by steel flowers at the gate of MoCA, it simulates a real garden with the use of Arduino technology; “Terrace Canopy” is a hanging net, which weaves a new relation between the city and the garden; “Terrace Landscape” is a landscape installation among the chairs on the terrace. Walking through the garden, people will be immersed in this multi-dimensional experience which takes them beyond the traditional understanding of beauty.