Hong Kong

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

Image result for mid-autumn festival

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival from China to you!

Today (September 15, 2016) is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie). The festival will fall on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar, which just so happens to be today for 2016.  Although today is the official day of the holiday, most people in China will take a 3-4 day weekend to celebrate. 🙂 For example, at our university all classes are cancelled for Thursday – Saturday, with Friday’s classes made up on Sunday.
Based on the lunar calendar, on the 15th of the month, the moon should be a full moon, shining bright and beautiful.  So a lot of the stickers and pictures being sent around WeChat (Chinese version of Facebook) are full moons or things shaped like full moons. 🙂 

The moon has a special place in the world of Chinese art and culture, with many of my students great enthusiasts of the “romantic and beautiful night sky.” So during the Song Dynasty, the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival was created to celebrate the Harvest Moon. This is supposed to be the brightest, biggest, most beautiful moon of the year. 

One of the best and largest part of the Mid-Autumn Festival is the tradition of eating what are called “Moon cakes” (月饼 – Yuè Bĭng).  Moon Cakes are little pastries or cakes about 4 inches around and 2 inches thick.  The pastry crust tends to be pretty thick and then inside are any variety of treats or fillings. Most common in Henan is the red bean or Jujube paste, but there are many others with nuts and fruits inside.  (I’m not terribly fond of the paste ones, but a few of the nut versions are pretty good.)  The pastry top will somehow be stamped with a Chinese character of good fortune luck, peace, happiness, etc. They are usually passed around to family, friends, teachers, business colleagues, etc. Visit a Chinese shop before the holiday and for at least two weeks they will be selling these cakes like crazy.  

Image result for chinese moon cake bean

According to legend, the moon cake became a holiday tradition during the Yuan dynasty. China was under the control of Mongolian rulers at the end of the dynasty, and the Ming Chinese were fed up. They decided to stage a revolution, but had a difficult issue in the logistics of communicating their message to the people without tipping off the Mongolians. The story says that the leader Zhu Yuanzhang and his adviser Liu Bowen came up with the brilliant idea of using moon cakes. They started a rumor that a horrific and deadly disease was spreading through the area and that special moon cakes were the only possible cure. Of course the people began buying up moon cakes and hidden inside each moon cake was a message telling them the date and time for the revolution (Mid-Autumn Festival).  The Chinese revolted, the battle was won, and moon cakes became a permanent staple of the holiday! 🙂 

Image result for chinese woman one the moon

Another famous legend about the festival is that of a tragic romance. In the west, our culture has the beloved Man on the Moon, but in Chinese it’s the beautiful Chang’e, Lady on the Moon.  The story says that centuries ago there live a famous hunter, Hou Yi, and his wife Chang’e. At the time, the world was surrounded by 10 suns and they were burning the earth and its people to death. A brave man, Hou Yi took his bow and arrow and went out to shoot down nine of the suns. He saved the world in the end. As a reward, he was given a special potion that contained immortality. However, because he loved his wife so much and because the potion was only enough for one person, Hou Yi refused to drink it. After this, he was very famous and many people came to learn from him. But some also came to steal from him, including one wicked man. One day while Hou Yi was out, the evil man snuck into the house and attempted to steal the potion from Chang’e. She realized she could not keep him from taking it, and so drank it herself. The potion immediately gave her immortality, and her body flew up, up, up and up to the moon. Heartbroken, Hou Yi came home and prepared a feast on a table under the moon in honor of his wife and in the hopes that she would see his efforts and know how much he missed her. So (according tot the legend), ever since the Chinese like to eat big meals under the moon to remember her sacrifice and to celebrate their own families. 

Advertisements

Upcoming Event ~ “Taiwan Fest!”

Hey Folks!  

Heard from the ACSEA (Asian-Canadian Special Events Association) and they are putting on what sound’s like a really cool event in Downtown Toronto and Vancouver! 🙂 

Each year, this organization hosts the annual TAIWANfest, and this year it’s going to be called “Dialogues with Asia” starting with “A Cultural Tango with Hong Kong.”  The event’s purpose is the “engage Torontonians and Vancouverites in a cultural dialogue to better understand Asian cultures.” But I’m sure they’d love for people of all locales to stop buy and participate! Sounds like a great opportunity to learn more about not only Taiwan (an awesome place – most of my students say that it is actually more like old-style, traditional China than even the mainland) but also other countries in the Asian sphere.

You can see the schedule for August 26-28 here and September 3-5 here. Special events include an International Pan Asian Culinary event and “A Cultural Tango with Hong Kong Symphony” Check it out!

Who:  ACSEA (Asian-Canadian Special Events Association)

When: August 26-28, 2016 (in Toronto) &  September 3-5, 2016 (in Vancouver)

Where: 

Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8

The Centre / Granville Street / QE Theatre Plaza
Vancouver Playhouse Annex

More Information: Here.

“TAIWANfest returns to Harbourfront Centre and Downtown Vancouver this summer and begins its “Dialogues with Asia” series with “A Cultural Tango with Hong Kong.” One of the great ways to experience the culture is to take part in the Friendship Picnic – a program designed to cultivate new friendships over food. Mark down the dates and get ready to meet someone from Taiwan or Hong Kong. If you’re a little more adventurous, try the Hakka nutritional beverage called Lei-Cha, made from ground up seeds and nuts. For some great stories, check out the full Experience HAKKA! Redefine your understanding of Asian cultures with exhibits and films August 26-28 at Harbourfront Centre and September 3-5 in Downtown Vancouver.”

 

 

Coming Exhibition: Loving Devotion: Enter the Mandala

“Enter the Mandala”

Asia

“Taima Mandala” (1300s – 1400s)

Who:  Asian Art Museum

When: Mar. 14, 2014 – Oct. 26, 2014 (Tues-Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thurs. 10 a.m. – 9 pm.)

Where: 

Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA

How Much:  

  • Adults ~ $15
  • Seniors, Students, Youth ~ $10

More Information: Here.

“Mandalas are maps of Buddhist visionary worlds.

Minutely detailed and saturated with philosophical meaning, these works (most often paintings or sculptures) are a feast for the eyes and the mind—nested squares and circles are arrayed to represent the center of the cosmos and the four cardinal directions. For Buddhist practitioners, however, mandalas are not just images to view, but worlds to enter—after recreating the image in their mind’s eye, meditators imaginatively enter its realm.But is it possible to have this experience without years of meditative discipline?  

Enter the Mandala
says yes. In this exhibition, 14th-century paintings align a gallery with the cardinal directions, transforming open space into an architectural mandala—a chance to experience the images in three dimensions, to dwell in the midst of the cosmic symbols and be transported to another world. Visitors can literally “enter the mandala,” exploring places in the cosmos—and perhaps themselves—that might otherwise remain invisible. “

Coming Exhibition: Chinese Painting~ Legacy of the 20th Century Chinese Masters

“Chinese Painting~ Legacy of the 20th Century Chinese Masters”

Summer

“Summer” (1985) by Chu Teh-chun [Zhu Dequn]

Who:  

Leisure and Cultural Services Dept.
Hong Kong Museum of Art
Musée Cernuschi
Asian Arts Museum of Paris
Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet

When: June 13, 2014 – Sept. 21, 2014 (Sat.-Sun 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.)

Where: 

Hong Kong Museum of Art
10 Salisbury Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

How Much:  Standard ($10)         Seniors 60+  ($5)        Students ($5)

More Information: Here.

“Paris has long been a European art and cultural hub where the liberal atmosphere enabled different streams of thought to burgeon and thrive, and since the 20th century this city has seen generations of Chinese artists hone their painting skills. Following the trend to learn from the West new ways of transforming traditional conventions, these artists left their motherland in search of inspiration. Visiting museums and learning under the guidance of masters, they acquired Western painting skills and perceptions, pioneering a revolution in Chinese painting art circles.

Artists like Liu Haisu, Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian and Pan Yuliang left early for France. These young Chinese artists had a mission. After returning to China, they contributed immensely to the introduction of artistic trends from overseas, the development of oil painting and bouleversement of Chinese painting. They also founded fine arts schools in the country, cultivating in a new generation of painters the aspiration to further their studies in France. Among these students, Zao Wou-ki, Chu Teh-chun and Wu Guanzhong became well-known figures in the international art scene, anchoring the notion of ‘creating the art of an era’.

This exhibition showcases almost a hundred works, including oil paintings, Chinese ink paintings, sketches, lithographs, sculptures and more, demonstrating the impact and revelation of European art on 20th century Chinese painting. Exhibits have been composed from the collections of the Musée Cernuschi, Asian Arts Museum of Paris, the Hong Kong Museum of Art and several major institutions in France.

The Musée Cernuschi holds one of the finest Chinese art collections in France, and its Chinese painting collection comprises the works of various Chinese painters who travelled to France during the 20th century, illustrating their different practices and inclinations on the blending of Chinese and Western painting skills.”

Coming Exhibition: A Parallel Tale ~ Taipei in 80s X Hong Kong in 90s

“A Parallel Tale ~ Taipei in 80s X Hong Kong in 90s”

0

Who:  

Comic Home Base
Hong Kong Arts Centre
Dala Publishing Company

When: June 25, 2014 – Aug. 31, 2014 (Sat.-Sun 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.)

Where: 

Comic Home Base
North Campus Drive
Provo, Utah 84602

How Much:  Free!

More Information: Here and Here.

Participating Hong Kong Comics Artist: Fung Chi-ming, Ho Ka-fai, Seeman Ho, Li Chi-tak, Justin Wong 
Participating Taipei Comics Artist: 61Chi, Sean Chuang, Amin Lee, Push Comic (Ah Tui), Ahn Zhe (Tu Tse-Wei) 

Comics artists from Hong Kong and Taipei set out on a fascinating time-travel trip with their drawing pens, taking a stroll down the memory lane to trace the footprints they left in the two cities in the 80s and 90s. Stories and scenes that pop up in the artists’ minds as they revisit the old times are transformed into pages of original comics – some light-hearted and some thought-provoking – to illuminate their memories of the people and things from a few decades ago, and even the social and cultural phenomena at that time. 

Featuring 10 comics artists and 10 comics works loaded with nostalgia, the exhibition takes everyone to travel backward in time, returning to the Hong Kong and Taiwan in the sweet, old past. The exhibition was held in Taiwan as one of the programmes of the “Hong Kong Week 2013@Taipei” and received overwhelming response. The exhibition will be shown in Hong Kong in this summer. In addition to the exhibition, there are also a series of side events aiming to offer the general public valuable insight into the comics and publishing industry both in the past and at present, as well as the startling artistic ability and creative talent of the artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

Side Events

– 1+1 Live Drawing Demonstration

– Sharing Session: I Am a Comics Artist/ Publisher!