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We Needham to know this

File:Five Steps of Papermaking - Step 5 - Drying the Sheets of Paper on a Wall - As described by Cai Lun in 105 CE.jpg
Woodblock print of one of Cai Lun’s papermaking stages, Ming
I  just listened to a good 2-part summary of the work of Joseph Needham from the China History Podcast: part 1, part 2.
His mammoth book describes the many scientific and engineering achievements of China, from the four great inventions to the stirrup!

I had not realised that he was instrumental in founding the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding : the SACU website has interesting articles and videos.
I am now keen to read more, such as Bomb, Book and Compass (know as the The Man Who Loved China in USA)by Simon Winchester (I enjoyed The Surgeon of Crowthorne years ago).  Not sure if I will manage all the volumes of Science and Civilization in China!

Bridge at Dujiangyan irrigation works, Sichuan

There are several interviews with Simon Winchester on the internet.
BBC In Our time on the Needham Question.
10 Inventions in the Han.

A burst of creativity

Leading The Cranes Home

I am working on paintings inspired by Bai Juyi’s poem Western Wind.  I was lead to the Arthur Waley translation by Ralph Kiggell‘s hand-printed book Leading the Cranes Home.

I painted the japonica and lantern in my garden.

I love painting still life.  The inscription on the teapot says “if the song is too highbrow, no-one will sing along”.  The excellent Chinese Sayings Podcast explains the meaning.

 

White Jade in Stone and Bamboo Garden
High Song teapot

A few more objects:

High Song, Stone and Water Studio teapot

Also carved a seal, first one for some time, so quite pleased with it.

Quite interesting information on seals.

Hen How

I demonstrated how to paint cock and hen recently.  I enjoy exploring different techniques for the same composition.

Calligraphy and seals need to be added.

Also working on still life composition – not right yet – and calligraphy practice.

Persimmon and Cabbage draft
Seal Script Calligraphy

The calligraphy is a poem by Huang Binhong: Wei and Meng’s five-character poems make a clear chant; Jin and Tang eight methods become calligraphy