Featured Posts

The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...

Readmore

Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...

Readmore

Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...

Readmore

Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....

Readmore

My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...

Readmore

  • Prev
  • Next

Silk from the Land of Han and cherishing beautiful words

Posted on : 18-05-2017 | By : Cindy | In : Uncategorized

3

IMG_1493

In my latest novel the main character, Leah, imports exquisite silk from the land of the Han. The Han dynasty spanned four hundred years from 206BC – 220AD and actively traded with the Roman empire along the so-called Silk Road. So on my recent visit to China I was excited to see the ancient Shu style of embossed silk (above) that most likely traveled along the Silk Road, and to visit the Three Gorges Museum to see artifacts from the time of the Han.

IMG_1550

This amazing rhinoceros shaped copper belt hook inlaid with jade caught my eye. Imagine how big you would have to be to wear such a solid thing at your waist! I can imagine it being carried by horse and camel across the treacherous mountains and vast deserts of the Silk Road, being traded for dates, pomegranates, spices or glass and finally ending up resting on the ample girth of a Roman general or senator.

IMG_1558

The language used in the museum displays was fascinating, displaying a fluidity in use of words that made me at times laugh and at other times sigh with delight. Some of the students in my writing workshops used language in the same loosely poetic way. I loved it!

IMG_1553

For centuries the Chinese have valued the written word. So much so that in Chengdu I found an ancient ‘burning tower’ from the Qing dynasty. The inscription read: ‘In ancient times, people cherished every word greatly and all papers with words or drawings shall be burnt in the tower together to show respect.’

IMG_1417

Finally, as we were about to board our flight I found, in the tiny snack shop, Sun Zi’s ‘The Art of War’ printed on silk pages and written in ancient Chinese with English translation! Although written 2500 years ago, it is still today studied throughout the world by both military and business students. My son will be reading it for the wisdom of strategy and leadership while I will be marveling at the ancient words, the beautiful Chinese characters and running my fingers over the silken pages.

art of war

 

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments (3)

Hi Cindy, how fascinating – and wonderful to do such ‘in the setting’ research. China has such a rich culture and history and the links in the ancient world were much wider than we often realise. I know Chinese artefacts were found on archaeological digs of Greater Zimbabwe (a 12-13th century) which showed that two-way trade routes extended from China to central Africa. Must say though, burning is not my understanding of honouring words and books – was this an attempt to take the words with them into the after-life?

It reminded me of the Israelites in the Bible who offered the best/most precious of their livestock, produce etc as a burnt offering to God. I think paper and writing was so precious, it made a worthy sacrifice.

What a fascinating trip that must have been, Cindy. I loved that museum display with the unconstrained characters :) It’s amazing to think that words are valued so highly in some cultures. Thanks for sharing.

Write a comment (your email address is never shared or published)

..