Tiles of carnelian, lapis, and jade,
Not far from where I grew up, there was a muralist whose specialty was mosaic. He accepted commissions from all over the world and also collaborated with a number of famous artists on their murals and sculptures. He had bins and buckets full of all sorts of fascinating tiles. Some were red, blue, and yellow glass. Others were elaborately glazed ceramic. A few were tones like lapis, turquoise, malachite, and obsidian. Some were even mirrored with god and silver, and these would shine out first whenever he would wash away the grout.
God may be in the details, but it is also important to know the big picture.
That is where the muralist is such a great example. He knew what the big picture had to be, and yet he had enough concentration to piece together enormous tableaus out of tiny square centimeters. That is knowing both the small and the big. Follow his example and you will never be petty; yet you will not lose sight of the relationship between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic.
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
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