Collection: Ten Images from Art Studio, China

“Time passes, day by day. The greatness of this country lies in the inexorable journey it has taken through time.

Time is like an enormous pot, into which all ugliness and beauty are thrown, all happiness and grief, all life and all death.

Cycle follows cycle, living life and dying death. Only the great River rolls on, unending.”
Yo Yo, Ghost Tide

Images reblogged with many thanks to:

Bi Jianye


Born in 1985, Bi Jianye is an emerging artist originally from Dandong city in the Liaoning province of China.  He now lives and works in Shenyang. Jianye has been showing with Platform China,  one of Beijing’s most important contemporary art galleries, since graduating in 2008 from the Department of Oil Painting at the LuXun Academy of
 Fine Arts in Shenyang.

Bi Jianye’s recent paintings feature scenes from nature, but with a difference, as they reveal an out-of-place still life motif, or box, carefully placed into the composition. The box may be a comment that refers to the artist as a lonely and isolated figure in society, or perhaps refers to humanity’s forceful intervention with nature and the environment.

Bi Jianye uses thick paint that reveal carefully painted surfaces, using a muted palette of browns and creams to create quiet and assured compositions made by an artist confident in his art.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, “He Xie (River Crab)”, 2010, Porcelain

The installation “He Xie” consists of 3,200 porcelain crab sculptures. They were created after Chinese authorities ransacked and destroyed Weiwei’s studio in 2010. Following that event, a feast of real river crabs was hosted by Weiwei, who was unable to attend, due to his house arrest. The term “He Xie” is a homophone for “harmonious” in Chinese and has also become a term for internet censorship.

Jia Peng Fang

Jia Peng Fang, “Night of Beijing” From the Album “Rainbow”,2000

Jia Peng Fang specializes in the erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument that resembles the range and sounds of the human voice. He was born in the Helong Jiang Province of China, and got his first erhu at the age of eight in 1965. When he was sixteen, he was helped to ravel to Beijing to study with professional erhu players.

In 1997, Jia Peng Fang’s brilliant co-performance with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York solidified his position in the world of music. Also in June of 1998, he made his debut album “River” with the Pacific Moon label, which blended Western music with the Chinese folk instrument. The high quality of the work won him a high acclaim in Japan and abroad, as well as proving to be a commercial success.

In 1999, the concept of blending western with Chinese folk music was further developed in the Pacific Moon album “Rainbow.” It proved to be even more successful than the first album, both in Japan and abroad. His third album from Pacific Moon, “Faraway…”, was released in January of 2001.


A Year: Day to Day Men: 4th of October, Solar Year 2018

Resting on White Sheets

October 4, 1363 marked the end of the Battle of Lake Poyang.

The Battle of Lake Poyang was a naval conflict which took place between August 30 and October 4, 1363 between the rebel forces of Zhu Yuanzhang  and Chen Youliang, a rival local warlord, which eventually led to the fall of the Yuan Dynasty.

General Chen Youliang was a Red Turban rebel, who assassinated the existing Red Turban leader and usurped his regime, the Great Han Dynasty. On August 30, 1363, Chen’s forces conducted a major assault on the Ming Dynasty’s city of Nanchang with a hundred naval vessels. After failing to force entry into the city gates, Chen’s forces were repelled by a barrage of canon fire. Chen set up a blockade, with the hope of starving out the defenders; however, a small boat managed to slip out and reached the city of Nanjing in time to warn Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty.

On August 30, Zhu’s fleet, only about a third the size of Chen’s forces, engaged Chen under orders to get close to the enemy’s ships and set off gunpowder weapons, and finally attack with short range weapons. Zhu’s Ming forces succeeded in burning twenty or more enemy vessels and killing or drowning many of the troops. When Zhu’s flagship caught fire and hit a sandbar, he was forced to withdraw.

On August 31, Zhu’s  forces rammed Chen’s enemy fleet with fire ships, vessels deliberately set on fire and sailed into the enemy ships. Many more ships of Chen’s fleet were destroyed. The two fleets engaged in battle again on the 2nd of September; but the tide turned and this time Chen’s forces were forced to withdraw.

Zhu Yuanzhang decided to blockade the enemy ships and forces. This blockade lasted for a month until Zhu’s forces employed fireships again on the 4th of October. The remainder of Chen’s fleet were destroyed. During the battel, Chen Youliang was killed when an arrow struck his head.

The Battle of Lake Poyang was the last major battle of the rebellion prior to the rise of the Ming Dynasty. Chen’s forces were estimated at one hundred vessels and 650,000 men, of which all the vessels were destroyed and most of his army. Zhu’s forces were estimated at 30- 40 vessels and a force of 200,000 men, of which 1,346 died and 11,347 were wounded.

The Ming victory at this battle cemented their position to take command when the Yuan Dynasty fell, which happened five years later in 1368. Zhu Yuanzhang became the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty under the name of Hongwu. He claimed the Mandate of Heaven and occupied the Yuan capital, Khanbaliq, now present-day Beijing.

Archea Associati

Archea Associati, Liling World Ceramic Art City, China

The Italian architectural firm Archea Associati designed a new architecture wonderland in Changsha, China, in collaboration with the Human Architectual Design Institute. Liling is a county-level city, known for its traditional porcelain and firework industries, in the Hunan province of China.

Liling Ceramic Art City is a new city section entirely devoted to ceramic art. It is a city, where the relationship between architecture, urban space, the material made by the company and industrial tradition merge into one.  The concept for the Liling design was inspired by the client, a leading producer of ceramic materials, who wanted to site a museum and a hotel in this industrial ceramics processing area. The designed buildings seek to spotlight its features and varied colors and production styles.

The entrance gate leads to the project’s core, an open square which is surrounded by a hotel, restaurants and three museums: two about calligraphy and one about ceramics. Residences and commercial services are located in the north-east area. All the buildings are connected via walkways below street level.

Bronze Censer

Ming Dynasty Bronze Censer, Artist Unknown, 1368-1644 AD, Bronze, Hardwood, Jade, Private Collection

This Chinese Ming Dynasty censer has a bronze globular mask decorated body with twin handles. It is supported by a tripod of mask bronze legs resting on a hardwood stand. the cover is hardwood with central jade decoration. The height of the censer is 23 centimeters.

Chen Fei

Chen Fei, “Big Model”, 2017, Acrylic on Linen, 290 x200 cm.

Initially, Chen Fei’s work is narrative-driven. Before painting, Chen creates a fictional story. Each painting is a culmination of a series of events occurring to Chen’s characters and Chen captures them at a significant point in the narrative. Like people we meet on the street, the elements that coalesce into the painting’s scene are unseen forces forming unexpected results.

Chen Fei’s work shares qualities with comic books and film storyboards with figures outlined in solid black, accentuating the form, while individuals are caught mid-action in the middle of a scene. The is very oftern a blending of Chinese and Western aesthetic cultures in his work, similiar to what one sees in China, where popular bath houses are styllized with Greco-Roman themes.

“The readability of painting is as a form of language. After I complete a work, how the reader interprets or gets inspired or discerns another perspective is out of my control. What I’m capable of is to convince or even exceed myself during the practice more frequently, which is one of the few approaches to express my thoughts.” – Chen Dei

Odile Decq

Odile Decq, Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark Museum, Nanjing, China

The Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark, near the city of Nanjing, is a geological and paleo-archaeological museum. This geological museum can be found in the beautiful valley between Tangshan and Fangshan, two volcanic mountains. Not only does the museum reveal a 700-million-year slice of earth’s geological history, but the discovery of ancient hominid remains in a cave here in the 1950s sparked worldwide speculation about the early origins of mankind.

The architect of the project was Odile Decq, the founder of Studio Odile Decq. She is an award-winning French architect, urban planner and academic. She graduated in 1978 from Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture de Paris- La Villette with a diploma in Urban Planning. Okile Decq was awarded the Golden Lion of Architecture during the Venice Biennale in 1996.

Since 1992, Odile Decq has been a professor at the Ecole Soeciale d’Architecture in Paris where she was elected head of the Department of Architecture in 2007. She left in 2012, opeining her own school, the Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, in Lyon, France. The Institute, cofounded with architect Matteo Cainer, opened in 2014.

The Wood Dragon

Chinese Carved and Painted Wooden Dragon, 1880, Wood, 11 x 34 x 13 Inches

This Chinese sea dragon is from the late 19th century, most likely being a temple carving for above a doorway. It portrays an undulating movement in its form, with the head turned back to the scaled, serpentine body. The mouth is open in a smile and the eyes are large with eyelashes. It is painted in strong reds and greens with gilt highlights.


A Year: Day to Day Men: 3rd of June, Solar Year 2018

The White Barrier

On June 3, 1839, Governor-General Lin Tse-hsu destroyed 1.2 million kilograms of opium confiscated from British merchants.

Lin Tse-hsu, or Lin Zexu, was a Chinese scholar and official of the Qing Dynasty of China. In 1811, he obtained the position of a jinshi with a degree in Literature in the imperial examination, and in the same year gained admission to the Hanlin Academy founded by Emperor Xuanzong. He rose rapidly through the various grades of provincial service, opposed the opening of China to foreigners, and became Governor-General of the provinces of Hunan and Hubei in 1937.

In March 1839, Lin arrived in Guangdong Province to take measures that would eliminate the opium trade. He was a formidable bureaucrat known for his competence and high moral standards, with an imperial commission from the Daoguang Emperor to halt the illegal importation of opium by the British. Upon arrival, he made changes within a matter of months. He arrested more than 1,700 Chinese opium dealers and confiscated over 70,000 opium pipes. He initially attempted to get foreign companies to forfeit their opium stores in exchange for tea, but this ultimately failed.

Lin resorted to using force in the western merchants’ enclave. A month and a half later, the merchants gave up nearly 1.2 million kilograms (2.6 million pounds) of opium. Beginning on the 3rd of June, 1839, five hundred workers labored for 23 days to destroy it, mixing the opium with lime and salt and throwing it into the sea outside of Humen Town on the Pearl River Delta. Lin composed an elegy apologizing to the gods of the sea for polluting their realm.

In 1839, Lin also wrote an extraordinary memorial to Queen Victoria in the form of an open letter published in Canton, urging her to end the opium trade. He argued that China was providing Britain with valuable commodities such as tea, porcelain, spices and silk, with Britain sending only “poison” in return. Lin appears to have been unaware that opium was not banned in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, and was commonly used for its medicinal rather than recreational effects. The letter to the Queen never reached her.

Neither Lin nor the Daoguang Emperor appreciated the depth or changed nature of the problem. They did not see the change in international trade structures, the commitment of the British government to protecting the interests of private traders, and the peril to British traders who would surrender their opium.

Open hostilities between China and Britain started in 1839 in what later would be called the the First Opium War. The immediate effect was that both sides banned all trade. A series of military and naval engagements were fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice in China, ending in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking.

Andres Gallardo Albajar

Andres Gallardo Albajar, “Great Wall of China”, 2018

In February of 2018, architectual photographer Andres Gallardo Albajar had expected to create the same tourist-filled images as others who visited the architectural feat of the Great Wall. However when he arrived, he found a thick fog encapsulating the structure. This particular weather added further mystery to the deserted landscape Albajar captured in this photo series.

“I was expecting big amounts of people, even lines to access or things like that, but for my surprise there was very few people, which allowed me to capture the wall with no people, which in my opinion helps to create a more surreal and magic feeling,” – Andes Albajar

Su Xinping

Artwork by Su Xinping

Born in Jining City of Inner Mongolia in 1960, Su Xinping was accepted into the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 1979. Following completion of his studies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1989, Su began to produce intimate black-and-white depictions of the social transformations occurring during the decade of open policy promoted by Deng Xiaoping. His works expressed a deep concern for the issues surrounding isolation and the lack of communication among the people at this time.

Su Xinping on his more recent works:“My recent work is about two themes – the urban landscape series and the toasting series. In the urban landscape series I want to express the impact of urbanisation on people. In the toasting series I use irony to reveal issues of city life and the interaction of people – particularly in business and politics.”

His works have been collected by the British Museum, San Fransico MOMA, National Gallery of Victoria (Australia), Fukuoka Museum of Art (Japan) and National Art Museum of China.

He is currently Vice President (2014) of China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA).

The Tulou

Chinese Traditional Architecture: The Tulou

Tulou, mainly distributed in the mountainous areas of South China’s Fujian province, is a unique type of rural dwellings of the Hakka people. These odd-looking structures were mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries, primarily aimed at defending against the bandits and robbers. Usually a tulou is made into a vast, enclosed and fortified earth building, capable of housing up to 80 families living a communal life.

Although most tulou were of earthen construction, the definition “tulou” is a broadly descriptive label for a building type and does not indicate construction type. Some were constructed out of cut granite or had substantial walls of fired brick. Most large-scale tulou seen today were built of a composite of earth, sand, and lime known as sanhetu rather than just earth. The tulou is often three to four stories high. Often they would store food on the higher floors.

The noted Fujian Tulou, designated as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, is a small and specialized subgroup of tulou, known for their unique shape, large scale, and ingenious structure. There are more than 20,000 tulou in southern Fujian.

Han Meilin

Han Meilin, “General Guan Yu”, Jingzhou, China

A colossal statue standing 58 meters (190 ft) tall and weighing over 1,320 tonnes has been unveiled in Jingzhou, China. The incredible statue depicts Guan Yu, a prominent historical figure in Chinese history that was a famous general during the Three Kingdoms period. The general was later deified in Chinese culture and is reverently referred to as Guan Gong or Guan Di and has come to symbolize brotherhood, integrity, loyalty and righteousness.

The statue was designed by Han Meilin who is known for his designs of the 2008 Beijing Olympics mascots. The legendary figure (48 m tall) stands atop a 10-meter tall pedestal that has been designed to look like an ancient warship. Inside the statue, visitors can explore an 8,000 sq m museum.

In his right hand, Guan Yu is seen holding his famous “Green Dragon Crescent Blade”, an axe-like weapon that weighs over 136 tonnes. Over 4,000 strips of bronze have been glued to the sculpture, which serves as the centrepiece for Jinghzhou’s Guan Yu Park.

Hu Tianbao

The Vision of the Concupiscence of Men: Seen by Tu’er Shen

According to “What the Master Would Not Discuss (Chinese: 子不語)”, a book written by Yuan Mei during the Qing dynasty, Tu’er Shen was a man called Hu Tianbao. Hu was originally a man who fell in love with a very handsome imperial inspector of Fujian Province. One day he was caught peeping on the inspector through a bathroom wall, at which point he confessed his reluctant affections for the other man.

The imperial inspector had Hu Tianbao sentenced to death by beating. One month after Hu Tianbao’s death, he is said to have appeared to a man from his hometown in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, the underworld officials decided to right the injustice by appointing him the god and safeguarder of homosexual affections.

After his dream the man erected a shrine to Hu Tianbao, which became very popular in Fujian, so much so that in late Qing times, the cult of Hu Tianbao was targeted for extermination by the Qing government.