dao stretching

stretching Chinese for "stretching"

large stone

Chinese characters for "Carved boulder with bronze stand: The Nine Elders"

When young, things are soft.
When old, things are brittle.

Stretching—both literally and metaphorically—is a necessary part of life.

Physically, a good program of stretching emphasizes all parts of the body. You loosen the joints and tendons first, so that subsequent movements will not hurt. Then methodically stretch the body, beginning with the larger muscle groups such as the legs and back, and proceed to finer and smaller parts like the fingers. Coordinate stretching with breathing; use long and gentle stretches rather than bouncing ones. When you stretch in one direction, always be sure to stretch in the opposite direction as well. If you follow this procedure, your flexibility will undoubtedly increase.

Metaphorical stretching leads to expansion and flexibility in personal growth. A young plant is tender and pliant. An older one is stiff and vulnerable to breaking. Softness is thus equated with life, hardness with death. The more flexible you are, the greater your mental and physical health.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

Chinese characters for "Carved boulder with bronze stand: The Nine Elders"

Carved boulder with bronze stand:
The Nine Elders of Huichang
Nephrite, bronze
Height: 114.5 cm.
Height: 56”; Width: 40”; Depth: 32”

Splendors of China’s Forbidden City:
The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong

Splendors of China’s Forbidden City is devoted to the long reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795). The exhibition concentrates on Qianlong’s 18th-century period, the last grand era of the Chinese empire. During his long reign, Emperor Qianlong became the epitome of a great Chinese ruler, at once all-powerful and civilized. The Chinese empire reached its largest geographic spread under his rule, while life in China was both peaceful and prosperous. The exhibition investigates how Qianlong achieved this magnificent level. Politically adept, he recognized and supported all facets of Chinese civilization. Although he was a Manchu and remained proud of his nomad forebears, he cultivated the Han Chinese, who formed the majority of the Chinese people. Like his predecessors, the Kangxi and Yongzheng emperors, Qianlong carried out a balancing act between his Manchu heritage and the culture of Han China, which the Manchu Qing dynasty had conquered. (continued from the Curator’s essay: about the exhibit and the art we will continue to see here:)

Qianlong was a Renaissance ruler with a variety of skills and interests, and the next section illustrates his personal taste. As a man who produced anthologies of classic Chinese writings and catalogues of the history of Chinese art works, as well as writing 40,000 poems himself, Qianlong took personal pride in amassing one of the great Chinese art collections, represented here by a rich array of art works, including porcelains, jades, lacquer works, wood and bamboo. Two impressive inlaid elephant censers frame the entry into the room. The elephants are cloisonné and champleve enamel. Qianlong’s taste for sumptuous works of great technical brilliance led him to patronize enamel as a favored material, especially for decorative arts and architectural details.

The center of this area is a very large jade boulder carved with scenes of The Nine Elders Of Huichang. The work commemorates an historical symposium and demonstrates Qianlong’s devotion to the Confucian ideal of respect for the elderly. A striking technical tour de force, the carving depicts a party held by the T’ang poet Bai Juyi with his scholarly friends. As in a landscape painting, the elders wander across the mountains with wine and music. It is a series of Arcadian scenes, where man and nature are in harmony. Grandeur is replaced by the civilized pleasures of creation and intellect. The carving includes a poem by the emperor, commenting on the way jade would outlast ink painting.

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao
t h i r t e e n
tao verse twelve

Both praise and blame cause concern,
For they bring people hope and fear.
The object of hope and fear is the self

For, without self,
to whom may fortune and disaster occur?

Who distinguishes herself from the world may be
given the world,
But who regards herself as the world may accept
the world.

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