Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, October 5 - I’ve posted three others of the Chubby Women series by Guangzhou artist Xu Hong Fei. We’ve seen her walking a dog (Feb 5), holding a baby (April 11), lying with a cat (June 24), and now we have her playing golf – only she doesn’t have a golf club that is part of the statue. It doesn’t seem to be broken, it looks like there never was one; I thought she should have one, so I gave her a bamboo club for the picture :-) If you want to see the other three statues, follow this link: http://www.myownchinesebrocade.com/picture-a-day-1?tag=Xu+Hong+Fei I think there is still one more to go! www.myownchinesebrocade.com
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 11 – Have you heard the good news that giant pandas have been taken off the world’s endangered animals list? We don’t live in the part of China where pandas are native, but we have some in the zoos around us, and they are very much a part of the Chinese culture. And right now our local shopping plaza seems to have been taken over by pandas! Balloons flying high above the buildings, and little 2 foot high statues all around the plaza, some wearing clothes, some with bikes, some playing sports, and some just sitting around! Planters have new covers with panda designs as well as panda decals on the upper level glass railings! There’s even a nice spot set-up for taking pictures :-)
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 5 – B. Duck is a HUGE merchandise branding character that was started in Hong Kong in 2005. He was inspired by the traditional rubber duckie. Quote from the official website “To distinguish himself from the traditional floating duck, the cuddly B. Duck represents the spirit of “Be Playful” for the people of all ages and shares the happiness and fun to everyone …… With twinkling eyes, puffy lips and a big tummy, B. Duck loves to surprise and delight your beloved.”
He has a family, and friends, of other colorful ducks and even a younger sibling who is an unhatched egg! B. Duck is very popular in China, most of Asia, and is also in Europe. I see there is a B. Duck USA website, so maybe he’s in the USA too? There are whole stores of B. Duck merchandise! You can get an amazing variety of things, plus there are now cafés also! Fun to look at, but all I actually own is a bowl that I got as a promotion with toothpaste once! Pizza Hut is currently using B. Duck in their advertising for their new Beijing duck pizza, notice his pizza hat? Here’s a 10th anniversary video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIu775PkN5A
My pictures are a B. Duck store in Shenzhen at Christmastime, current Pizza Hut advertising and big B. Ducks in their windows, and some older pictures of B. Duck statues.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, August 2 – Every time I go to the Songshan Lake Library, I take a picture of this statue, it’s in need of a new paint job, but, I still like it :-) I’ve never seen a live water buffalo in Songshan Lake, but when we’ve gone outside of the city a ways I’ve seen them. I’ve heard about a beach in Hong Kong where there are water buffalo, and I hope to get to see them some day. I couldn’t find any specific information about this statue, but I’ll quote some information I did find: “Popular in many media, representations of young boys with water buffaloes often have Buddhist overtones. The motif of a youth herding a water buffalo alludes to a famous eleventh- to twelfth-century cycle of parables known as the Ten Ox herding Songs. In this cycle, actions such as looking for an ox and herding it represent some of the steps in the quest for enlightenment.” http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/51230 Also, from Wikipedia, “Ox herd boys riding oxen have been used as a motif in painting and graphic arts to symbolize the ability of the mind to control the body. That is, philosophically, symbolizing the ability of intellectual will to rule bodily strength and its physical urges.”
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, July 19 – I’ve seen charging bull statues in a number of cities in China. Shanghai supposedly has one on the Bund that is similar to the New York City Wall Street Bull. Shenzhen has one in front of their government building as well as a giant one in Sihai Park near where we used to live, and this one pictured is in Dongguan. I don’t think it’s “famous” like the others, but it’s the closest to where we live now and definitely the most colorful! In China, the bull, especially the charging bull, symbolizes determination, diligence, perseverance, and hard work. This makes it a popular decorative statue for offices and desks. The bull, or ox, is one of the twelve lunar zodiac signs, it’s most recent year was 2009 and the next will be 2021. If you are an ox (bull) the previous traits are supposedly part of your personality.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, June 25 – I’ve posted a couple of the Chubby Women series by Guangzhou artist Xu Hong Fei. Here’s one more that is along the shoreline of Songshan Lake.
Today Leah and I went to a “Theme Park” within our big city park. In English, it is called “Dream Garden.” For the most part, the flowers were very pretty, there was quite a bit newly planted and we saw workers planting more. The lavender fields were especially beautiful. There was a nice looking new waterpark area, a small amusement park area where we rode the carousel :-), and much more! Then…as in many Chinese theme parks, they had random statues scattered around the park, most of which were quite tacky! Starting with the picture at the top left, you see me with the Smurfs, or lán jīng líng (Blue fairy spirits). They were right next to Pleasant Goat and his crew, and Winnie the Pooh and friends were just down the road. Then there was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Prince, standing in front of what looked like a Russian Orthodox style building (???). The Statue of Liberty, not bad looking, but still rather random, about as tall as me, was along a road in front of another garden area, across from the Great Wall replica! The last picture is of a waterfall at the main entrance, quite nice, with waterwheels, red lanterns, and a flower area in front of it with….. penguins???? There was also a “Pigeon Square” which the map labelled as “Square Pigeons” …. We checked, but only found normal looking pigeons :-)
I’d like to share another one of Xu Hongfei’s Chubby Women sculpture series that are along the shoreline of Songshan Lake. This one is called “Mother and Child”; There are quite a few in the series with mothers and babies or small children, but I think this one shows a much more tender side where the others are more “fun.” The description on the base says how a child needs his mother’s loving care in order to grow up healthy.
I found a great video on You Tube (13 minutes long) that shows footage from Xu Hongfei’s 2013-2015 Chubby Women International Sculpture Tour with exhibtions in Guangzhou, Florence and Sicily in Italy, Australia, London, Singapore, and Beijing, and also shows him working in his studio. It’s fun to see the people interacting with the sculptures. I think I’ll have to go sit by some of these sculptures on a busy weekend and see what people do :-)
The first sculpture picture I shared was on Feb 5th http://www.myownchinesebrocade.com/picture-a-day-1?tag=statues
The arts have been, and still are, very important throughout China’s history. Sculpture is included and can be found in many parks and gardens, as well as museums and more. The housing area where we live, as well as the public areas of Songshan Lake, have quite a few sculptures. Today’s pictures show two areas of the same style of sculptures: The larger group of children, seven in all, is between the largest playground and a small lake. I really like these because even when the weather isn’t so nice and the real children aren’t out playing, these children are :-) They kind of draw you in and make you wish you could go play with them. The boy and the dog are off to the side of the building we live in. I enjoyed “catching” the bird on the boy’s head, it probably even left some droppings, so the boy has good luck now ;-)
Life in China: A Picture a Day 2016, Feb 5 - I have seen three sculptures around the lake that have caught my eye as something different for China. Usually, women are portrayed as very petite, so I was curious about these. I have been looking for information about them and was so excited that I finally found it! It turns out that they are a part of a well-known series, from 2010, by Xu Hong Fei 許鴻飛, president of the Guangzhou Sculpture Academy. He did the series because he wanted to challenge Western ideals of beauty. “His ‘Chubby Women’ are not limited by their size and enjoy active and fulfilling lives.” The statue series have made a couple world tours and have been loved! So, here is the first one I saw at Songshan Lake, titled “Under the Sun.” As I explore more of the lake, I expect to find more statues!