Drinking Alone

July 9, 2012 § 4 Comments

This is one of my favorite poems.

English Translation:

Drinking Alone with the Moon (Li Bai, 701-762 AD, China)

From a wine pot amidst the flowers,
I drink alone without partners.
To invite the moon I raise my cup.
We’re three, as my shadow shows up.
Alas, the moon doesn’t drink.
My shadow follows but doesn’t think.
Still for now I have these friends,
To cheer me up until the spring ends.
I sing; the moon wanders.
I dance; the shadow scatters.
Awake, together we have fun.
Drunk, separately we’re gone.
Let’s be boon companions forever,
Pledging, in heaven, we’ll be together.

Drinking Together: The Asian Kendi

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

About a year ago I was in the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) and took photos of a number of items.  Usually I take a photo of the label as well.  Later as I was going though my shots a came across a lovely vessel that I used in a drawing. I discovered that I had no idea what it was or in what museum I had taken the shot. I had not even taken a photo of the label.  I assumed that I was an object some where in MIA’s Asian collection.  I have been wandering the those collections on each visit and have had not discovered it.  I began to wonder if I might be wrong and the object was at the Met in New York City.  This past week however I found the object in a part of the Asian collection at MIA that is somewhat separate from the other, which is upstairs. One the first floor there is India and Southeast Asia.

I later discovered later that the sweet little vessel is called a Kendi. It has a very long history in Asia and is also depicted in European art from time to time. I must admit that I can understand that.  There is something so appealing about its form. This is a lovely  water vessel without handles. It has a long neck that doubles as a place to fill the pot with liquid and  a place to hold, lift and manipulate it.  A spout coming out of a round and squat body. It is a great communal drinking vessel in that liquid can be poured from the vessel with out lips coming into contact with it.

More about Kendi can be found here:  http://rooneyarchive.net/articles/kendi/kendi_album/kendi.htm

Six Persimmons

June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was introduced to this painting while in college. It was in an aesthetics class on Asian art. I have always loved the painting.  It is somewhat like a mental talisman that I now turn to when dealing with other examples of still life painting. I came across this odd lecture about the six persimmons a few days ago. It goes long and the speaker is a bit quirky but if you have the time you might enjoy this and learn a bit about the work of an intriguing Chinese painter from the distant past. This is a man who did not fit the conservative mold of his time.     Play Video

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