postcards from chaozhou, guangdong

postcards from chaozhou, guangdong

One of my favorite aspects of China, especially smaller towns in China, is the ingenuity to create or modify items to more effectively suit it’s very specific function.  A great example is the double watering can system, close up below.

One recurring theme I am always drawn to is the wearing away and contrast created by time.  The door frames are ornate, but the surrounding space is now overgrown.  What did this place look like in its heyday?
Can you see the cat in the photo?
This door’s beauty is in its frequent use, and its slow wear over time.

A close-up of the village wall that has a new pattern created by weather & time.  The pattern reminds me of the rice terraces found in other areas of China.

Another aspect of smaller Chinese towns that I love are the handmade objects, especially the baskets.  Baskets are everywhere in Chaozhou: carried on shoulders of farmers & attached to both sides of a motorcycle.  The density of the weave changes with the function.  For example, baskets meant to use as a cage for chickens or to hold large items are a very large-scale open weave, while baskets meant for holding small items have a very tight weave.  The patterns created are beautiful.

A Chinese truck…it reminds me of Mad Max, very makeshift!

After a six-hour bus ride from Guangzhou, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chaozhou, but was very happy to be there to visit my good friends and their newborn baby.  Chaozhou is a fairly small and quiet city (by Chinese standards), and I was grateful for the chance to visit the farmland and old village within the city that may soon be demolished in China’s push to modernize.

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WENSHU TEMPLE. chengdu

WENSHU TEMPLE. chengdu

Peeling Chestnuts
A new monk, posing for an introductory photo shoot! I felt very lucky to witness this.
The “dots” on a bhikkhu’s forehead are actually small, circular burns that are given to the monk when he ordains. The burns are created with small, coiled and waxed wicks. The coils are lit and then placed on the forehead and left until they extinguish. This method is used primarily in the Chinese Buddhist (Mahayana) tradition and it originated as a method to distinguish genuine monks from those pretending to be monks. During times of great famine or poverty in China, some people would pretend to be monks so that they could live and eat in a monastery.
THE FARM @ TONG SHA HU. dongguan

THE FARM @ TONG SHA HU. dongguan

Sounds like an upscale, organic, farm-to-table restaurant in New York, but no-it IS a real farm on the grounds of the park, and they serve lunch for visitors, and also make honey!

LUNAR NEW YEAR/SPRING FESTIVAL/ CHUN JIE. dongguan

LUNAR NEW YEAR/SPRING FESTIVAL/ CHUN JIE. dongguan

Loving this little boy’s pants!

Although Chinese New Year has a lot of different names, the tradition is the same…it is a time (sometimes the only time during the year a family can get together in one place) for families to come together and have fun, eat food, and light some fireworks.  Last year we spent it with our dear friends at their house with family & friends.  We made dumplings and shared some rice wine, then when midnight struck, we bought some fireworks and had some fun in the streets!

This year was a bit more relaxed, and on New Year’s Day, we went to the local park to have a stroll…us and 500 other Dongguan residents!  The weather was great, a sunny 70 degrees, and everyone and their families were out for some good old-fashioned fun.

CHINESE MUSLIM SNACKS. shenzhen

CHINESE MUSLIM SNACKS. shenzhen

For some reason Chinese Muslims have the lock on snack carts in China.  They sell raisins & nuts, a flatbread similar to naan, and a “cake” in the loosest sense of the word…it’s a densely-packed snack of nuts & fruit, bound together with sugar. A little piece of advice: agree with the vendor on a price before he cuts you a piece, or things could get expensive quickly.

LONG-HORN MIAO

LONG-HORN MIAO

 I have had a long-time fascination with the Long-horn Miao, a Chinese minority that lives in southern China.

Long-horn Miao women wear such elaborate “hairstyles” for special ceremonies.  These hairstyles were once made of real hair, but now supplemented with yarn, and measures to be about 9 ft. long.

In addition to that, their traditional dress is beautiful; such vibrant colors & prints!

( photo credits: 1: ecotourchina.com, 2, 3, &5: Keren Su, 4: unknown )

NEED A DATE?

NEED A DATE?

I love these makeshift stands on the side of the road here in China…this man is selling dates & raisins, but you can find, mango, pineapple, watermelon, nuts, and so much more. Just keep walking down the street!

VESSEL. jingdezhen

VESSEL. jingdezhen

Jingdezhen China is a village of one million people that produces almost all of China’s ceramics. It is an interesting place where production is still manual in alleyways accessed by dirt roads.