Tanch’ŏng – colours of joy

The Drum balcony, Bongeunsa

The first thing that struck me in the temples of Korea was the colour.  I was hypnotized.  I was told that there is an ancient aesthetic principle that guides decoration.  It is called tanch’ŏng and there are rules about the primary colours — red, blue, yellow, light brown, black and white.  Colours are applied in traditional patterns, especially where the motif of the lotus appears.

Ceiling of the Reception Hall, Bongeunsa

The application of colours on the intricate wordwork invite comparison with filigree patterns.  This work can only be done with deep affection for and dedication to the task.  I saw some of the best examples on the beams of the temples at Bongeunsa and Bulguksa.

Eaves at one of the Bulguksa temples

Remarkable too, is the way in which the figurative and non-figurative blend.

Tile painting of a dragon

The use of colours could only come from feelings of joy, evoking admiration and wonder.  I was inspired.  And you see it too, in other aspects of Korean life  –  traditional costumes, fans and embroidery.

Modern fans at Insa-Dong

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

September, 2019

 

My photographs

Bongeunsa lotus

          

 

The French Resistance

It is fitting for me to honour the French Resistance at a time (Nov 2018-March 2019) when the Gilets jaunes protest movement in France has betrayed, in its destructive path, elements of neo-nazism.

Monument to the French Resistance, Antibes

In the Côte d’Azur the honouring of those who resisted the Occupation strikes me from time to time  –  the naming of a school, of a street, of a place, the museum, plaques and the monuments.

Monument aux Morts, Nice

“To the Resistance 1940 – 1945, came the time of oppression.  And freedom found, on our soil, men and women who, so that it lives on, accepted torture and death”.  The cross is the Cross of Lorraine, the symbol of the Resistance.

Plaque to Baron Buchet who was deported by the Germans. Nice.

When you talk to people about the Resistance, their faces darken.  The times were indescribably cruel and the Resistance were as opposed to the collaborators as they were to the Germans.  Ian Ousby believes that the greatest tragedy of the Occupation was the French turning on the French.

A sculpture from the Museum of the French Resistance, Nice

A political student said to me Don’t believe that the whole of France supported the Resistance who numbered a few thousand.  Thus, betrayal of members of the Resistance was a lucrative business.

An English Resistance poster in the Museum, Nice

In The Plague by Albert Camus, the plague that befalls an Algerian town is in fact an allegory for the Occupation of France: “We are all involved”, says the main character.  Camus himself edited Combat, the main underground newspaper of the Resistance.

At Villefranche, the coastal town near Nice, there is a garden of remembrance on the fort ramparts.  It honours Jean Moulin who led the Resistance until he was betrayed in 1943.  It is said that he was tortured to death by Klaus Barbie, a member of the Gestapo, who was eventually extradited from Ecuador to France in 1967.  I am haunted by the face of Jean Moulin.

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

September, 2019 (written March, 2019)

 

Source

Ian Ousby: The Occupation.  Pimlico, 1999.

 

Images

My photographs

 

See as well

Shadow over France 1.7.2018

 

 

 

Pagodas

 

Second in a series of two

For those interested in pagodas, there is a feast at the National Cultural Museum of South Korea, Ichon, Seoul.  While some of them are old, my feeling is that some of them were made in our time.

It struck me that in the vicinity of temples, in surrounding woods, for example, that small stone piles were made by devotees from time to time.  I wondered whether pagodas and this urge or ritual for piling stones are related.

In the National Cultural History Museum, I saw the tallest pagoda I’ve seen.  I become confused trying to count the levels which, I am told, should always have an uneven number.  Pagodas, I was also told, played an important role in communities, perhaps like roadside chapels in Europe.  See the people at the bottom of the pagoda.  I had to mount three flights of stairs to get the photograph at this height.

If I look at the traditional forms of architecture in Korea, which also occur in China and Japan, I imagine that the pagoda with its ancient form, has had an influence, consciously or unconsciously, on architects.  Here is the main building in the other cultural history museum in Seoul.

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

September, 2019

 

My photographs

 

 

South Korea

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Pagodas

 

First in a series of two

A pagoda in the garden of the National Cultural Museum, Ichon, Seoul.

I became aware of pagodas in the vicinity of temples in South Korea.  The architectural history of these constructions is probably prehistoric, as old as the building of towers.  In one form or another they are found throughout Asia — India, South Asia, China, Japan and Korea.  It is said that they were originally part of Taoism and that means that Buddhism would easily absorb these symbolic structures.

Another pagoda from the same garden.

Pagodas are associated with meditation, with the performing of certain rituals and have been a storing place for sacred objects.

This is the Seogatap pagoda at Bulguksa, in the south of South Korea, built in the 8th-century a.d.  

When I saw this pagoda I wasn’t aware of the history.  My Korean colleague insisted on being photographed with it.  I later discovered, this pagoda had for centuried been made of wood and after the destruction of Japanese invaders in the 1590s it was restored in granite form.  It is said that the first movable block printed texts were discovered in the second level of this pagoda.  Considering the history, I feel that this discovery must have been made prior to the invasions.

To protect their patrimony, the Koreans decided over the years to bring pagodas from various regions to the capital.  I had some doubt as to whether this one was in fact a pagoda, but the form is flexible.

The other well known pagoda at Bulguksa

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

September, 2019

 

Source

Wikipedia pagodas

Note:  I mentioned the first wood block printed texts.  There is a good case to made that the Koreans, probably under the tutelage of Chinese monks, produced the first printed texts eighty years before Gutenberg did so in Europe.    

Images

My photographs  

Pagoda garden at the National Cultural History Museum, Seoul

 

 

 

 

What the artists said

We know what artists do.  What do they feel, think, say?  The graphics you see here are famous, but nobody knows about them.

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable  –  Banksy

We live in a rainbow of chaos  –  Cezanne

A single day is enough to make us a little larger  –  Klee

It is your duty in life to save your dream  –  Modigliani

It is after you have lost your teeth that you can afford to buy steak  –  Renoir

When a mountain doesn’t listen say a prayer to the sea  –  Twombly

Nothing is old, nothing is new, save the light of grace underneath which beats a human heart  –  Roualt

Every good artist paints what he is  –  Pollock

Creativity takes courage  –  Matisse

The pain passes, but the beauty remains  –  Renoir (responding to Matisse on why he painted in spite of his painful arthritis)

Truth is like fire;  to tell the truth is to glow and burn  –  Klimt

There is more power in telling little than telling all  –  Rothko

Art is like ham  – it nourishes people  –  Riviera

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature.  Understand them thoroughly  –  Dali

Art should be like a holiday:  something to give you the opportunity to see things differently and to change your point of view  –  Klee

The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble,  to live  –  Rodin

Art is either plagiarism or revolution  –  Duchamp

We grow small trying to be great  –  Hockney

Art is the lie through which we learn the truth  –  Picasso

My wish for you is that you explore yourself and find a marvellous view of life during your life  –  Kusama

(c) Will van der Walt

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

August, 2019

 

Source

A passing post on Facebook.  I take it at face value.

Images

My graphics

 

 

Stéphane Mader, photographer

Second in a series of two

From Stéphane’s images, I thought I’d include some of his earlier shots, those done in colour.  They are as striking, I feel, as his black-and-white work.

I think this most unusual angle for a shot was taken at a station somewhere.  Even in the hurry and flurry of things he achieves a remarkable formality in his images.

This atmospheric shot was taken in Boston.

This potent image too, was taken in Boston.

This painting-like photograph was taken in a medieval church in southern Spain.

The coast off the South of France.

 

(c) Will van der Walt

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com 

Les Semboules, Antibes

August, 2019

 

Images

Many thanks to Stéphane for permission

Images published by Nouvelle Image, Paris 

I wish I could persuade him to stop smoking, but, wow, he makes good images, as well as a good image himself.

Stéphane Mader, photographer

First in a series of two 

Stéph has again given me permission to place some of his images here.  The images that follow are recent.  Some were taken in South Africa, some in the United States, some in Toulon where he lives.

A pleasing composition, well defined

 

So often he captures an intriguing, fleeting moment.

I think this was taken in Boston.

There is something magical about the moment he has captured here.  Somehow the black and white lends a dream-like quality.

Note the jet stream to the right of the lamp post.

Quirky, minimalist.

(c) Will van der Walt

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

August, 2019

 

Images

Many thanks to Stéphane for permission.

Images published by Nouvelle Image, Paris

Stéph, enjoying himself at a restaurant at Groot Constantia, Western Cape, South Africa.  My pic.

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