Category Archives: Mind Philosophy

Shining the spotlight on the creative realm of the sublimely artistic and bringing the latest and breaking news from the art world

Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang

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Kneeling Archer
Qin Dynasty 221–207 BCE
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Emperor Qin Shihuang’s
Mausoleum Site Museum, Xi’an (2812)

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) presents the Melbourne Winter Master-pieces, featuring a dual presentation of past and present Chinese art and culture. Opening in May, this exhibition will bring forth this concept by exhibiting the world famous ancient Terracotta Warriors alongside a parallel display of new works by famous contemporary artist, Cai Guo-Qiang.

The Terracotta Warriors are known as the guardians of immortality and the eighth wonder of the world. This exhibition will feature eight warrior figures and two life-size horses from the Imperial Army, as well as two half-size replica bronze chariots, each drawn by four horses. ‘The Transient Landscape’ by Cai Guo-Qiang on the other hand will see new art works inspired by his home country’s culture and its enduring philosophical traditions, including a monumental installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds.

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Cai Guo-Qiang, Qatar, 2016
Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Firearms The Art of London

Pair of Flintlock Pistols

These pistols are among the finest known examples of English Neoclassical-style firearms. Each stock is inlaid with engraved sheet silver and embellished with heavy cast-silver mounts. This decoration was inspired by contemporary French Empire firearms, such as those by Boutet also in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection (acc. nos. 36.58a–c, 42.50.7a–n, and 1970.179.1). Several of the motifs are based on ancient Roman sources. On the sideplate, for example, the Nereid riding a sea-leopard derives from an engraving of 1762 depicting a wall painting in the recently found ruins of Herculaneum. On the trigger guard, the oval medallion representing Hercules with a defeated Amazon is copied from a well-known antique gem. The Medusa head on the butt also derives from Classical art, but here the idealized model has been transformed into a grimacing, almost humorous caricature of the legendary gorgon.

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Made by John Manton & Son (British, London 1815–1878). British, London, ca. 1815–34. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Collection of Giovanni P. Morosini, presented by his daughter Giulia, 1932 (32.75.138–.139)

Pair of Flintlock Pistols

The original owner of this remarkably decorated pair remains unknown, but the pistols’ opulence and French character suggests they may have belonged to George IV (1762–1830) or someone in his circle. Their gold-inlaid locks are the most lavish ever produced by John Manton’s firm during his lifetime. The carved eagle on the grip—a feature also found on a pair of the king’s pistols, made for him when he was Prince of Wales, now in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle (Acc. no. RCIN 6166)—is here further enhanced with gold-inlaid eyes. Similarly expressive lions may be found adorning the pommels of contemporary Parisian firearms, a possible source of inspiration for the accomplished steel chiseler Manton commissioned to create the mounts for this unique pair. The mounts, which include elaborate belt hooks chiseled with swirling acanthus leaves, are unsigned.

British gunmakers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries seldom deviated from the sober style that brought them fame throughout Europe and distinguished their work from that of the Continent. But for wealthy clients, particularly the Prince of Wales, later George IV (1762–1830), they shed standard decorative patterns in favor of more ostentatious embellishments. The prince was the preeminent patron of contemporary London gunmakers from the late 1780s through the 1820s, and over his lifetime he commissioned dozens of superlative firearms for sporting, personal use, and presentation. Gunmakers enhanced select firearms and accessories for the prince by substituting silver mounts for traditional steel, adding engraved and gilt ornament to the locks and barrels, and personalizing the weapons with the royal arms and Prince of Wales feathers. But the prince’s affinity for all things French also sometimes guided the gunmakers’ decorative choices. Indeed, he built his palatial London home at Carlton House (demolished in 1827) with an eye to the French Neoclassical style and decorated it with artworks, furniture, and other accoutrements from France. The most elaborate works by royally favored gunmakers catered to this taste and achieved a graceful blend of French-inspired decoration with traditional British design and technology.

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Made by James Purdey the Elder (British, London 1784–1863 Margate). British, London, ca. 1831. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1935 (35.41.1–.15)

Pair of Four-Barreled Turnover Percussion Pistols of Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne (1785–1851), with Pair of Box-Lock Turn-Off Pocket Pistols, Case, and Accessories

Recent archival research revealed this lavish set to be one of the costliest pistol ensembles ever made by James Purdey, selling for £101 10s in 1831. Purdey made just ten four-barreled pistols in his career, and this pair is the only surviving set cased with pocket pistols. It is remarkable, too, for its exceptional state of preservation. The combination of vivid blueing, case-hardening, and finely finished wood looks much as it would have to the original owner, the fourth Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne.

One of the most famous British aristocrats of his era, the fourth Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne took delivery of this lavish pistol set from Purdey in April 1831. The duke purchased it for self-defense three months after being assaulted by a mob in the streets of Newark. The attack was prompted by his vigorous opposition to electoral reform, a contentious national issue that reached a boiling point in the early 1830s. Roughly six months after the duke acquired his pistols, the House of Lords rejected a new reform bill, resulting in widespread public violence. Several private residences were attacked, including the duke’s Nottingham mansion, which rioters burned to the ground on October 10, 1831. The duke was in London at the time. Weapons with a small customer base among the elite, Purdey’s four-barreled pistols show the great expense that members of the aristocracy lavished on firearms for personal protection.

Xi’an City of Ancient History & Good Food

Formerly known as Chang’an, Xi’an is one important ancient city in the world that you absolutely must visit! It is now a popular tourist site because of its rich history and good food.

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5 top places in Xi’an:

1. Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum

Listed as a world UNESCO heritage site, the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum located in the Lintong District is the tomb of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. It also holds the world famous Terracotta Army.

2. Bell Tower

Built in the early Ming Dynasty, the Bell Tower of Xi’an is located right at the centre of the city and is an important landmark of Xi’an. It is one of its finest kind in China.

3. Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area

Known as the second cultural symbol of Shaanxi, the Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area is renowned for storing the Finger Bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha. One of its sectors, the Namaste Dagoba, has a fascinating theatre performance of the history of Famen Temple that you should not miss!

4. Qianling Mausoleum

The Qianling Mausoleum is where tombs of the imperial family of the Tang Dynasty are located. This includes the tombs of the famous Emperor Tang Gaozong and his wife, Emperor Wu Zetian, the only female Emperor to ever rule in China.

5. Muslim Quarter

Rich in culture and it’s abundance of delicious food, the Muslim Quarter not only enclaves the majority of the Muslim population of Xi’an, but has also turned into one of the most visited tourist spots in the district!

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5 top dishes in Xi’an:

1. Biang Biang noodles

Savoury and chewy in taste, the classic Biang Biang noodles made from wheat flour are served with vinegar and topped with assorted vegetables and braised meats. ‘Biang’ describes the sound made when the noodle dough is slapped against the working surface repeatedly.

2. Liang Pi

Made from wheat or rice flour, Liang Pi (Cold Skin Noodles) is a local snack where cold thinly sliced rice noodles are  drizzled with chilli oil sauce and topped with spices and vegetables. It is a yummy vegan dish!

3. Rou Jia Mo

Invented in the Qin Dynasty, Rio Jia Mo is the oldest hamburger in the world, It is a crispy handmade bread with tender stewed fatty pork patty stuffed in the middle! Other meat alternatives are also available.

4. Yang Rou Pao Mo

Yang Rou Pao Mo is a dish where hand-pulled flatbread crumbles are cooked in a flavourful mutton broth with rice vermicelli and topped with slices of lamb or beef of your choice and pickled sweet garlic. Hand-pulling the flatbread is also a time to gossip and socialize for locals!

5. Suan Tang Shui Jiao

Suan Tang Shui Jiao with locally made mutton dumplings are boiled in a mouth-watering hot and sour soup. Every dumpling is an explosion of flavour! Sesame seeds, chopped leeks and cilantro are added to make the dish pop!

 

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Bayan-Ölgii Mongolia 大漠煙光

For thousands of years, nomadic tribes in Mongolia faced countless armed conflicts with their surrounding countries including the majority Han Chinese in China mainland.

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曾经沧海难为水,除却巫山不是云
A young Kazakh lady with her hunting eagle. The Kazakhs have preserved this hunting tradition for more than two thousand years

The boundless Mongolian steppe became the most important frontier defence of the Han Chinese Government. During the Tang and Song Dynasty, more than a thousand years ago, many government officials in the frontier were literature scholars capable of creating great everlasting poems. In their long countless days in the steppe, these Chinese scholars wrote many timeless poems that have had long lasting effects on Chinese literature and also Chinese-Japanese ink wash paintings. The famous Wang Wei (699–759) of Tang dynasty is one of them who wrote poems that described the Mongolian land : “A smoke hangs straight on the desert vast and the sun sits round on the endless river.

While travelling on the ancient exotic route of Mongolia, one should bring along a book of Tang-Song poems. “Boundless sky is so blue, the wilderness seems boundless too. Rippling through the pastures, north winds blow; the grass bends low, cattle and sheep to show.” The poem itself is a collection of light and shadow, a true photography album.

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单于北望拂云堆,杀马登坛祭几回
Portrait of a Kazakh nomad

数千年来,蒙古各地的游牧民族和周边国家有过无数次的武装冲突,漠北一望无际的茫茫草原,也成了历来汉族王朝的边防要务。

唐宋时期,当时被发配到北方大漠的汉族官吏,有为数不少才华洋溢的文人。漠北万里风霜,有绮丽雄壮的风景,草原山丘光暗错落, 显隐交杂,在文人笔下更显得气势磅礡。

悠悠岁月里,多愁善感的文人在大漠草原写下了许多流传千古的诗词,后世称之「边塞诗」。信手拈来,如唐代王维(692年-761年)的《使至塞上》「大漠孤烟直,长河落日圆」;李白(701年-762年)《关山月》「明月出天山,苍茫云海间」;鲜卑族的民歌「天苍苍,野茫茫。风吹草低见牛羊」;乃至近代的毛泽东的诗词《沁园春》「北国风光,千里冰封,万里雪飘」。千余年来诗人的边塞吟咏都是别致醉人大漠摄影集。

游走漠北时记得带上一册唐宋诗集,一边走一边读,犹如赴一趟与唐宋诗人分享视觉和心灵的享宴。

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草枯鹰眼疾,雪尽马蹄轻
Kazakh horseman in Altai Mountain of Western Mongolia

Opening Of The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of The Islamic World At The British Museum

by Adline Abdul Ghani


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Opening ceremony of Albukhary foundation Gallery of the Islamic world at the Great Court, The British Museum.
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Guests admiring the priceless artifacts displayed in the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World following the gallery’s launching ceremony.
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Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, being guided through the gallery by Venetia Porter, Assistant Keeper (Curator), Islamic and contemporary Middle East of the British Museum.

For the past forty years, the Albukhary Foundation has committed itself to the areas of education, social welfare and religion, with the intent of bridging further understanding between cultures and faiths. On the cultural front, its key role has been reflected in its initiation and ceaseless support of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) in Kuala Lumpur, now the largest museum in the Asia Pacific. Its initiatives on arts and culture, now continues with the establishment of the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World at the British Museum. 

Opening its doors to the public on 18th October 2018, The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World is a major re-display of the British Museum’s world-class Islamic collection. As a comprehensive presentation of the Islamic world through art and material culture, it will underscore global connections across a vast region of the world from West Africa to Southeast Asia and reflect links between the ancient and medieval, as well as the modern worlds.

The British Museum’s collection of Islamic material uniquely represents the finest artworks alongside objects of daily life, such as modern games and musical instruments. The collection includes archaeology, decorative arts, arts of the book, shadow puppets, textiles and contemporary art. The creation of the Albukhary Foundation Gallery provides an extraordinary opportunity to display these objects in new ways that showcase the people and cultures of the Islamic world, as well as the ideas, technologies and interactions that inspired their visual culture.

Designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Stanton Williams and in close collaboration with the British Museum, the new gallery has been created by opening up and significantly refurbishing two historic, 19th-century spaces on the first floor of the Museum. Adjacent to recently renovated European galleries, these spaces have been closed to visitors for several years.

The displays are enhanced by an engaging new programme of digital media that comprises a series of introductory films focussing on topics such as architectural decoration, ceramic technology, arts of the book and music. An accompanying website will allow for further research and exploration of the collections on display. The visitor will have the opportunity to engage directly with objects at a dedicated handling desk managed by the Museum’s volunteer programme.

The new gallery also accommodates a permanent presence for light-sensitive objects such as works on paper and textiles, which will be regularly changed. These will include stunning 14th century illustrated pages from one of the most celebrated oral traditions, the Persian epic Shahnama (Book of Kings) which will be shown alongside monumental folios of the 16th-century Indian Mughal emperor Akbar’s Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza). Overseeing the gallery will be the curatorial team, which consists of Venetia Porter, Ladan Akbarnia, Fahmida Suleman, Zeina Klink-Hoppe, Amandine Mérat and William Greenwood.

Hartwig Fisher, Director of the British Museum, said, “The galleries and permanent displays of the British Museum’s collection show us the interconnectedness of our shared cultures. The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World allows us to display this world-class collection to tell a more universal story of Islam in a global context. I am grateful to the Albukhary Foundation and the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia for supporting this important new gallery.”

Meanwhile, Syed Mohamad Albukhary, Director of the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia, said, “After years of preparation, it is enormously gratifying to see the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World open to the public. This gallery will certainly form an educational space and will contribute in strengthening the visitors’ experience and in their understanding of the Islamic civilisation”.

The Big Business of Forging in Art and Antique

When auction houses are hammering away incredible prices on arts and antiques, it is normal that galleries would take advantage of the situation and tag items with a higher price. Hence, making owners with the knowledge of the product demand high or sometimes unreasonable premiums. Eventually, this circle will lead to a spike of fakes, imitations and forgeries. In modern technology today, news travels at high speed through the internet and social media world. It is not difficult for owners, collectors, sellers and even criminals to know what is of high demand in the current market. News like an 18th century Chinese vase found in a shoebox in an attic in France that sold for USD 19 million caused a big commotion among collectors, motivating them to embark on a hunt for such pieces hoping to have the same luck.

In a simple economical and business environment, demand dictates supply. What if the demand for genuine pieces are high but there is not enough supply? Ultimately, this will require an alternate source of supply to satisfy the market. Imitations or replicas of old pieces are thus produced and sold as new pieces for those who only seek nice affordable pieces for decoration purposes. However, unethical dealers would produce fakes and pass them off as genuine pieces with an intention to cheat the buyer. In short, replicas are legal, but if one tries to pass off a new piece as an antique it is considered a criminal offense.

The business of fake antique pieces is actually one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. In 2014, a report by Switzerland’s Fine Art Expert Institute (FAEI) stated that at least half of the artwork being circulated in the market is fake. Al Jazeera reported in 2015 the fact that buyers from China spent more than USD 5.5 billion on Chinese art and antiques in 2014, yet Sotheby’s Asian art expert, Nicolas Chow, said that: “Virtually 99.9% of what you see in the art world is wrong.” This alone poses as a rather alarming issue. Stories of collectors having porcelain makers in Jingdezhen use their genuine antique pieces as reference to duplicate high quality copies which they then place in smaller auction houses in America or Europe ‘claiming provenance’ is also a shock to hear. Some of the most recent cases in 2018 include incidents such as when the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent was found exhibiting 26 fake works by Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky and the Telegraph’s report on how there was only one genuine work of Amedeo Modigliani among a collection of 21 fake paintings that were on exhibition at Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale.

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An 18th century Chinese vase found in a shoebox in an attic in France sold for 16.2 million euros (£14.3 million) at auction in Paris

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The fake market is now so common across the world that there is actually a museum exhibiting fakes. The Museum of Art Fakes in Vienna that opened in 2005 invited some of the master art forgers to exhibit their creations. Among them were German artist, Edgar Mrugalla, a self taught expert in copying works of Rembrandt, Picasso and Renoir. He has painted more than 3500 pieces by the time he was 65, jailed and eventually released to work for authorities to help uncover dubious artworks. On the other side of the continent, there is a famous art village called Dafen in China that produced an estimate 60% of the world’s oil paintings a few years back. People that worked in the studios and galleries were like art processors with jobs of ‘xeroxing’ famous works of artists no matter dead or alive as long as there were people in demand of the art piece. However, the Chinese government eventually intervened because cheap fakes were no longer viable in the rapid rising cost and e-commerce environment and original works were encouraged. This has however forced many art forgers to take higher risks to forge more expensive pieces in order to survive.

Although authorities around the world are clamping down on syndicates and master forgers in the art field, one must understand that to do so it is extremely difficult due to the efficiency of high tech scanners and printing machines these days. The similarity of the fake piece to the original piece is so precise that some experts hesitate on the originality of the piece and would play safe by commenting things like: “… to my best knowledge but the final decision still lies with the purchaser.” Every involved party is trying their best to keep a distance from such situations to prevent the possibility of being sued for negligence.

All in all, the business of forgery is a multi billion business in the world today. If one does not have the proper knowledge, financial means and fears being cheated on, it is highly advisable to stay away from becoming a collector.

Crystal Endeavor 水晶奋进号

The largest and most spacious purpose-built Polar Class ship

全球最大艘的探险游艇


Set to debut in 2020, Crystal Endeavor will be the largest and most spacious purpose-built Polar Class ship featuring Crystal’s celebrated service and hospitality, all-suite (100 suites only), butler-serviced accommodations, and unmatched choices for bold adventure in the world’s most remote destinations.

预定在2020年正式下水服役的水晶奋进号将是全球最大艘的探险游艇,同时具备水晶邮轮的服务特质丶全套房设计(仅100间套房)丶提供管家服务,以及具备极地探险的能力。

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Fitness Center
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Spa Sauna

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The dining experience on board is a highlight on this luxury expedition yacht from Crystal Cruises. Specialty restaurants will include Prego, which serves traditional Italian fare, and will also host Crystal’s signature “Vintage Room” winemaker dinners; and Umi Uma, which serves signature sushi and specialties from Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

Additionally, the yacht features elegant main dining venue, Waterside; the Asian-inspired Silk Kitchen & Bar, located in the two-story solarium during the evenings; and the European-inspired Bistro Café, which will offer full service breakfast and lunch. It is a go-to spot for freshly brewed espresso and teas.

水晶邮轮对餐饮的讲究也是水晶奋进号的特色之一,特色餐馆中还包括有帕戈意大利餐厅丶水晶招牌的复古餐厅葡萄酒晚宴,以及日本名厨松久幸信规划的 Umi Uma 亚洲餐厅所提供的特色寿司。

同时,游艇中的主餐厅是奢华极致的 Waterside 餐厅,而这两层高落地窗的空间,在傍晚则是丝路亚洲餐厅;至于早餐及午餐则是在欧式咖啡厅享用,同时不缺顶级咖啡与茶任君选择。

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Crystal Endeavor’s PC6 designation will enable her to operate in summer and autumn through medium first-year ice. The ship features the latest technological advancements, including offshore dynamic positioning capabilities, offering both comfort and safety while exploring the icy waters in the Polar Regions as well as exotic locations across the globe.

拥有 PC6 破冰等级的水晶奋进号可在夏秋两季应付极地当年中冰。游艇具备最现近的设施及装备,这包括海上动力定位能力,以确保在极地川行时的安全。

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