Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 209 – Ji’nan Intangible Cultural Show

After breakfast this morning, we had planned to video chat with Kadie, but things didn’t quite work out.  David had been invited by one of his students to go see a cultural show in one of the student buildings, so we decided to go to that.  We thought we would just do a quick look through and then head back to the apartment and see if we could still talk to Kadie.  What we thought to do did not happen.  Once we were there, the news people started taking pictures and videos, the girl that invited David and two of his former students were there and they followed us around to each exhibit and explained what they were and also with the artists who were there with their displays, could explain what they were doing with their crafts.

The first booth was silk embroidery and she had some beautiful works.  You had to look really close to see that it was embroidered!  So beautiful!  The next was the paper cutting that the Chinese are famous for.  The next booth had eggs that had been painted and carved!  They were amazing!
These are eggs that have been painted on and others have been carved on.  How do you carve on an egg? 
These eggs are carved on and then have lights put in them.
 We went to the next booth, where the artist had crafted miniature carts from ancient dynasties.  He had put a lot of detail into them and used ancient techniques to build them.  These were also great to look at and learn about from the artist.
This is a miniature of the wedding cart that a bridegroom would take his new bride to his home with.  The cart is more of a wheelbarrow with the blankets and linens for the new home on one side and some household goods on the other.  The bride would sit on the side with the basket, her feet over the edge dangling and her arm holding on to the middle part with the groom pushing the cart.  Cute!

This was a miniature cart for the "regular" people to ride in.  Also a peddler's cart.  All of the techniques used to make this were what they would have done anciently, only here in miniature.

This is the "BMW" model for the rich people.  The sides were ventilated to keep it cool inside while the people rode in it.
 The next man had paper flowers that had been “accordion” cut and when you fold them, they become flowers and when you “pop” them a certain way, the flowers change!  It was so fun to watch!  The next booth was a dough molding booth.  They made very intricate and complicated figurines of historical Chinese figures and also modern day figures.  We talked to him for quite some time (through our interpreters) about what he did.
These are figurines made with a flour dough.  The rose in the foreground was just made today.

This man is one who does the dough figurines.  He has made them for many famous people over the last 56 years that he has been doing this.  He teaches students from all over the world.  He was fun to "talk to" through our interpreters.
 Then we had probably the most amazing craft demonstrated to us!  It was miniature carvings done on jade.  You had to use a magnifying glass to see the writing that had been carved on these.  He told us that the blade that he used to make the smallest carvings was thinner than a strand of hair.
This was the best picture I could get of this, but it is the miniature writing.  Inside the red box, there is a small sliver of jade that he has written on.  It is barely larger than a thick hair strand.

This is a tiny tea set that he has written inscriptions on.  His hand got in the way just as I was taking the picture.

Another teeny, tiny tea set.
 There was also a booth that they were doing wood burning and made some wonderful pictures with it.  Then there was the clay figures that they use doing the Autumn Festival that are supposed to bring you luck.
This is the wood burning pictures.  The bird to the side was so finely done and you could touch it and feel the ridges that helped to make it the colorful bird that you see.

These are clay figures that they give each other during the Autumn Festival.
 There was a man that did wood burning on gourds and also cut them out in intricate patterns.  The last booth was a woman that demonstrated the figures that they make for Spring Festival.  These had been shellacked and baked, but for Spring Festival, they will give these as gifts and cook them up.  Such a fun tradition.
This man used the wood burning to put the picture on this gourd.

These are the gourds that were carved.  Such wonderful work!

These are the "noodles" that they will make and cook up for Spring Festival.  It looked like such a fun idea.

This one was made for a birthday.  The phoenix is on one side and the dragon is on the other.
 Then we went in to see a performance on the Guqin (goo-cheen), an ancient instrument that is similar to a zither.  They had some in the back of the room and David wanted to try and play it, so they let him.  They also let me try.  My teacher said I was a natural at it, as I picked up a beginning technique quite easily.  David had the master teacher come over and teach him a little bit.
Playing a bamboo flute and the guqin.

David trying to learn the guqin.
 Then we went in to see a shadow puppet play.  This was really fun to see and also to see how they work the puppets.

Part of the shadow puppet show.

More of the shadow puppet show.

Behind the scenes of the shadow puppet show.

The master trying to show David how to play.

These are the girls that invited us and did the interpreting for us.

It was finally time to go home, but not until after a newspaper reporter got an interview with David.  (They are rarely interested in interviewing me; the wife is more or less in the background here.)

After lunch, we had to go to the outdoor market and get some vegetables and I took those home so that I could get some work done and David went to the grocery store by himself to that he could get the rest of the supplies we had needed. 
The magnolia blossoms were just to wonderful to pass up without a pictures.  They plant a white and a pink next to each other and it is so beautiful to see.

At six p.m., Gilbert came to pick us up and take us to a restaurant for dinner.  We had Leo Ping there, along with Gilbert's his wife, Lulu, and Zinnia, who had worked with us at the elementary class we did last year.  We had a wonderful dinner and really enjoyed the company.   Lulu’s due date for their child was today, but she was still with us.  We are calling this our 15 ½ grandchild!  They have been an important part of our Chinese family here.  It will be hard to leave some of these people behind!

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