Thursday, June 30, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

In the soil:
Cinnabar, azurite, ocher, white clay,
Orpiment, milky quartz,
Tin, prase, gold, and silver,
In manifold hues glisten and glitter,
Shining and sparkling like dragon scales.
Of stones there are:
Red jade, rose stone,
Orbed jades, vulcan stone,
Aculith, dark polishing stone,
Quartz, and the warrior rock.
Excerpt from "Fu on the Imperial Park", Sima Xiangru (c. 135 BC

A marvelous bird from the Western Regions,
   manifests a wondrous natural beauty.
It embodies the sublime substance of the metal essence,
   embodies the shining brilliance of fire's power.
Gifted with wit and acuity, it is able to speak;
   intelligent and bright, it can perceive the imperceptible.
Thus, it plays and sports on lofty peaks,
   nests and perches in secluded vales.
Whenever it flies, it does not land at random;
   wherever it soars, it is sure to choose a good grove.
It has reddish-black feet, a vermilion beak,
  green coat, azure mantle.
Bright and colorful, lovely in appearance,
  It chitters and chatters in a lovely voice.

Opening lines, "Fu on the Parrot", Mi Heng (c. AD 198)
The Jade Maidens (Yü Nü) are companions of the goddess on Kunlun. They are dancers and musicians who playjade maidens gather in a wilderness garden  as the goddess flies in on a phoenixchimes, flutes, mouth organ, and jade sounding stones. In medieval murals at Yongle temple, they bear magical ling zhifungi on platters. In the “Jade Girls’ Song,” poet Wei Ying-wu describes their flight: “Flocks of transcendents wing up to the divine Mother.” [Cahill, 99-100]
Jade Maidens appear as long-sleeved dancers in the shamanicSongs of Chu and some Han poems. The Shuo wen jie zi  defines them as “invocators [zhu] …women who can perform services to the shapeless and make the spirits come down by dancing.” [Rawson, 427] Centuries later, a Qing dynasty painting shows a woman dancing before Xi Wang Mu and her court, moving vigorously and whirling her long sleeves. [Schipper, 2000: 36] Chinese art is full of these ecstatic dancing women.
The Jade Maidens act as messengers of the goddess and teachers of Taoist mystics. They impart mystic revelations and present divine foods to those blessed to attend the banquet of the goddess. But the Book of the Yellow Court warns spiritual seekers against “the temptation to make love to the Jade Maidens of Hidden Time.” [Schipper 1993:144]

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tuesday, November 10, 2015