November 1, 2011

P is for Painting

A few weeks ago on a pleasant not-too-hot, not-yet-wet, fall day, my honey and I borrowed two bikes and rode out of the town we use as home base in Kaiping into the countryside to get a closer look at a couple of the nearby old villages we had so often passed by car.

This is the front of one of several villages we explored a bit. There were old gray-bricked houses, as well as a couple of new tiled ones. Aesthetically I much prefer the old houses.

Kaiping, 2011

What I found especially attractive here were the hand-painted scenes that adorn many of the doors and a few walls. On the doors of this first house you see a traditional auspicious spring couplet that reads (roughly translated):
Everything under the sun is glowing
The spring sun is spreading virtuous luster
The meaning of the couplet depends on the reader's own state of mind.
 

In this close-up you can see more painting on the ceiling and the permanent hooks meant to hold festival lanterns.


Another close-up of an old house's intricately painted entryway:


New houses built with cement and tiles, more often than not paid for by a migrant working - or family living - overseas, still keep the village tradition.



This next image gives you a closer look at the painting, as well as the good luck bundle hanging from the hook. This bundle typically consists of fruits and other edibles which in Chinese sound auspicious, like luck, wealth or longevity.
 

These paintings are for ABC Wednesday, where the letter today is P.

I share with you one more close-up from this village that shows more lovely ways the old gray houses are adorned.


The sore behinds we got from the hours of bicycling were well worth seeing these (and many other) treasures we discovered by taking it in at a slower speed.

33 comments:

Meryl said...

Beautiful images. I just love exploring.

jane said...

Beautiful Pictures - I enjoyed the information about the paintings and colourful decor - it was well worth the bike ride - Jane UK

Roger Owen Green said...

these are beautiful paintings.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Nanka said...

Very interesting and the old structures anywhere in the world look better that the newer built, in aesthetics, architecture or strength!! Lovely photographs!!

JM said...

Great collection of details. I especially like the ceiling on the 4th shot and the last one too.

Tina´s PicStory said...

great shots! have a great week :)

photowannabe said...

What beautiful intricate tile work and paintings. Thanks for sharing this almost lost art with us.
Glad you "suffered" to get the great photos.

T. Becque said...

Lots of nice details on those grey brick buildings. They sure know how pretty them up!

Leslie: said...

The people sure do put a lot of work into their doorways. The paintings are incredible and much more fascinating than our own plain ones. Thanks for sharing and I do hope your sore butts are better now. lol

Leslie
abcw team

EG Wow said...

You really do see more when you travel at a slow speed. And you found some treasures! The paintings are delightful.

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm still ambivalent about the no-pain-no-gain theory, butt (ha ha) you have shown it to be true in this instance.
What delightful treasures awaited you a bike-ride away! The paintings are wonderful and your photos show them so well.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Rajesh said...

Beautiful paintings. It is like an open art gallery.

☆☆Mumsy said...

Wow..the paintings are very beautiful and fantastic! I'm glad that you and your husband enjoy the day out of time.

jabblog said...

Fabulous images. It's quite amazing the trouble people have gone to in decorating their houses - such beautiful, delicate paintings. You were well rewarded for your efforts:-)

Jo Bryant said...

what a fabulous experience

VioletSky said...

Cycling is really the best way to get up close in these wonderful places. The paintings are a lovely tradition.

Karen said...

Lovely! It adds such personality to the houses.

cieldequimper said...

I'd be lost as to the meanings but enchanted by the beauty.

Re. pétanque et boules: I would have said c'est la même chose but I'm no expert so...

FrankandMary said...

For "old gray houses" they look pretty special to me. Time's revenge may have worked them over, but I cannot see that from here.
~Mary

Birgitta - foto CHIP said...

Love this trip Francisca! So many exciting places you visit :)
The paintings are so nice and unique for each house. I wish we had a lot more of this in Sweden :)
All the best to you!

joo said...

What a beautiful collection of paintings and details, Francisca! Definitely my favourite is the last one - I wish I could understand the signs!
Have a great week:)
Joo

tapirgal said...

Wow! Am I glad you took this trip and shared it. The architecture and painting are delightful.

James said...

Great photos! What an interesting place!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Your pain is our gain! Lovely scenes. So glad some of the old has survived. Wish more of the wooden houses with courtyards survived modernization.

Shooting Parrots said...

I think I prefer the apintings on the older houses rather than the more 'perfect decorations on the new. But were the paintings done by the residents of the house or did they bring in contractors?

Ann said...

In Guangzhou, you come across the term Nanyang houses? House built from money sent back to China from their Nanyang/south east Asian relatives.

One needs to eat more so that next time the bums will fill out and when he cycle, the fat will cushion them and he won't feel hurt. LOL

As for me, it is trying to balance which is the problem. I used to cycle to school and I had no trouble then.

Gel said...

As an artist, I admire the glorious handiwork. As a person who wants my house to be a "home" foremost, I adore the welcoming quality of the scenes. Wonderful P post!

H said...

It was definitely worth the soreness. I too, prefer the grey brick houses and I love the decorated doorways!

Ruta said...

Beautiful pictures!

Ms. Becky said...

these are beautiful. I love how important it is to make their homes esthetically pleasing in every way. I can only imagine what it must feel like to go home and be greeted by that! happy day to you Francisca.

Ebie said...

I really enjoyed the houses and the paintings. I love the mix of modern and tiled houses.

Hehehehe, how about butt pads, do they sell them?

Lesley said...

These painted doorways are so beautiful! What a nice welcome to an entrance.

Kaori said...

Your collection of photos are great! For some reason the green tiles in the last few photos are what caught my eye! The paintings look really great against it :D