Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Old House in Chongqing.

Behind inauspicious walls and insignificant entrances

lies the spectacular.

The Chinese seem to have a propensity to convert anything they revere into deities with temples and incense.

I am not sure if this is a statue of a Tao god or a Buddhist god

- I think the former, but the part I remember was that this grand house, hemmed in now by high-rise,

was once owned by a 'foreigner' i.e. foreign to Chongqing, although still Han Chinese, and was a successful merchant who gave succour to his fellow immigrants in the form of charitable donations of rice and grain when they starved,

and while in the west Shakespeare was inventing words for plays, so too were Chinese men inventing plays of their own, and performing them here in silken gown

on this stage across the quadrangle.

And this merchant, like all merchants, swung lanterns from balconies

had quiet alcoves and hidden places

and worshipped the lion for fertility and wealth and luck

but most of all adored the youngest son of the dragon, Pixiu, for his constipation - and desired that just like him

much money would come in, but little would come out.