Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Imperial Inspiration

Hello There Blog Readers

I had a chance to visit the Imperial Palace in Beijing a few days ago, while in China. It is also called the Forbidden City. I found it was much larger a complex than I could have imagined. We kept walking through gates and coming to courtyards (most were very large courtyards, some exceeding the size of a professional sport playing ground) that lead to another palace or temple or pavilion !

I could write a lot about these, but instead will simply share a few photos of some of the things I saw there. I took a very many photos, so will have some rich sources of ideas and beautiful things to choose from to inspire paintings. I can already see that some of the statues may get featured as paintings in my Guardian Statues series. And some of the colors and patterns may inspire a series of encaustics.
Above left you see some of the lovely palace or temple buildings in the complex, showing the brilliant reds, painted eaves and verandah ceilings with blue and green, and the roof tops of imperially reserved color yellow. The roof tiles are all glazed yellow, which is really quite pretty.
On the right is a chinese gargoyle, who is guarding away bad spirits (as gargoyles do !) at the corner of a building in the garden area at the back of the Forbidden City complex, which is separated off by tall walls. This Gargoyle was larger, at his privileged corner position perhaps ? And he had a row of smaller gargoyles which joined him along the side of that building. Underneath the gagoyle is a really pretty large bronze bowl, a common feature in this stunning garden that was shaded by very old and majestic trees. The trees had plaques on them, written in Chinese (and my chinese reading is not good right now, so I can't tell you what exactly they had written on them). I was told by my hosts that the red bordered ones were announcing older, more important trees.
And at left is some close up detail from a door panel on a temple building. It features dragon patterns. In some areas, where the panels were far from passers by reach, the dragons are still dark green, maybe a bit of verdigris even. This one is close and in easy reach and you can see it has developed a patina and shine, and the scales pattern on its back have been worn off, leaving a shiny polish.

More soon, as I learn how to edit these photos or take more and catch up to my current location, which is Lithuania. I will have a few photos of my time here soon, maybe posted when I move onwards and get to the north of Spain !

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