From Shatin MTR station in the New Territories section of Hong Kong, it’s a short walk to the entrance to the Ten Thousand Buddha Temple. However, the temple is not marked on the map of the local area at the station. Follow signs to the Government Offices and look for a path going through a pocket of forest beside the office building.
It’s a steep walk of over 400 steps up the hillside to the temple. The path way is lined with statues of Buddhist saints, known as arhats, each with a different pose, and some holding books.
The Wisdom Path at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is at the end of a short walking track that connects the monastery to the main Lantau Island hiking trail. The Wisdom Path is an arrangement of 38 tall wooden columns inscribed with calligraphy by a famous contemporary calligrapher. The text is from the Heart Sutra.
At Hau Wong temple in Hong Kong’s Kowloon there is another one-stroke calligraphy inscribed on a wall. This one is the Chinese character for “goose” and is a reference to the famous calligrapher, Yishao (Wang Xizhi), whose is thought to have discovered how to move his wrist while writing by observing how geese moved their necks.
In roughly the same part of Hong Kong as the Wong Tai Sin Temple (see previous blog) is the Hau Wong Temple which was built during the Qing dynasty. Recently restored, this temple is noted for its historical relics including a stone inscription with the Chinese character for “crane”, which dates from 1888. This style of one-stroke calligraphy is thought to be able to ward off evil, and the rope-like appearance signifies the ability to tie up evil spirits.
Earlier this month, we spent a week in Hong Kong. It was during Chinese New Year, so all the temples that we visited had colourful decorations. Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon is very busy with visitors at New Year. Lots of people crowd around to have their photo taken with the statues of the Chinese Zodiac animals. The rabbit holds a book, probably because those born in a Rabbit year are known to be intellectual, scholarly and learned.
We were in central Perth on the weekend and stopped off at the art gallery to see an interesting exhibition called “Sacred and Profane” which runs until 22 August 2016.
Made up of three large scale works, it includes “Chinese Bible 2009” by Yang Zhichao. This amazing installation is a collection of 3,000 diaries found by the artist in second-hand shops in Beijing. They span the period 1949 to 1999 and contain the jottings of ordinary Chinese citizens.
The exhibition also includes the writings of just one famous person in “Public Notice 2 2007” by Jitish Kallat. Across three large walls are the words of a speech by Mahatma Gandhi given in 1930 before setting off on the famous salt march.
Recently while in Sydney, we enjoyed a visit to the art gallery, and especially liked a small exhibition of sculptures, embroidered banners and hand made comic books and zines by Indonesian artist, Eko Nugroho.
This artist combines traditional Indonesian arts like batik with science fiction and street art. The exhibition runs until some time in 2017.
The woodblock prints of the great Japanese Edo period artist, Hokusai, are famous around the world. He was also very famous in Japan in his lifetime, and in his 50s produced 12 volumes of Hokusai Manga. As can be seen from one on display at the “A History of the World in 100 Objects” exhibition at the Western Australian Museum, Perth, these books without words were full of sketches and caricatures with humorous overtones.