Print art has always fascinated me, not only because it is within my reach as a collector, but also because it is the one medium in contemporary art that has its roots in China, and it embodies the diffusion of ideas between East and West. This medium, which began as the most primal, embryonic form of (semi)mass media, went on to play a major role in the rise of modernity in both Asia and the West, and is today a vibrant art form in its own right.
The earliest known woodcut print is a 7th century copy of the Diamond Sutra discovered in the caves of Dunhuang, along the Silk Road in western China. It was a crude but important means of disseminating religious texts and other important works in ancient China. In this earliest form, it was severely limited by … Read More »
Yu Jian is a famous Chinese poet who resides in Kunming. This essay is the best homage to the city I have ever come across. It also contains his first poem, Green Park in Summer, written in 1973. I originally translated it for the now defunct Yunnan Magazine.
Though I’ve never left, I no longer recognize my hometown
Passing through this newborn city, I feel like a returning exile
Like a ghost returning to the temple, I still know
where the Li family well is, where the Zhang family garden is
where my grandmother’s rattan chair is, where her emerald earrings are
where the curtain hanging in the darkness is. I still know
where mother’s market is, where the eaves of the city god temple are
I can still hear the wind chimes, I can still see the bats in their grey robes
the sunset over the eucalyptus lake shimmering … Read More »