March 19, 2012

Lucky Entrance

I've shown before on this blog that in the southern Guangdong town of Kaiping you can still find old time Chinese charm and culture, even if you have to hunt for it, like for a treasure in a flea market. And you're more likely to stumble across charm, even if it's faded charm, in the older villages that are simply surrounded by modern urban sprawl (as you can see in my previous post).

It is in one such village that I found these pretty hand-painted ceramic tiles of plants and nature scenes (better viewed enlarged).

 Kaiping, 2012

Since the painting is not done directly on the wall, I hope I'm not stretching the definition of mural too much by offering these tiles to the community at Monday Murals. (Do click the link and go check out other amazing wall paintings from around the globe.)

If these tiles please you, you may also like others I've posted.

The paintings decorate the main entrance to an early 20th century gray-brick home quite typical in the region. The old wood door may be of interest to the folks at Monday Doorways. (If you like doors, head on over.)


Since we were in Kaiping over this past Lunar New Year (a multi-day celebration, much like Christmas in the West), the traditional chunlian - a couplet with an auspicious message for the new year - flanked the entrance. Reading first the right poster from top to bottom, the text on this couplet says:
Coming in and out safely with everything accomplished
Pursuing wealth without obstacles with profit arriving from all directions

Over the door, the large character (fook) means blessing or good fortune.

These new year posters are offered to seekers of signs at Signs, Signs. (You know the drill, right?)

You may also notice the fresh tangerine orange and lettuce hanging on the hook. Such bundles of fruit and/or vegetables too are customary for Cantonese speakers; the food may either have a symbolic meaning, or the spoken character for the food is close to an auspicious word. Here the character for tangerine (gut) is pronounced the same as the character for luck/propitious (gut), and lettuce (sanchoi) sounds like giving birth (in other words, bearing offspring).

Since I was behind The Great Firewall of China late January, I take this moment to wish you a comfortable ride on the tail of the dragon to good health and good fortune this Year of the Dragon!

32 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

Thank you for your dragon wishes, Francisca. It's great to see you back blogging.

Elisa said...

Best wishes to you dear Francisca:)

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful, Francisca. I love the paintings and the hangings.
K

H said...

The painted tiles have such character. They give a touch of individuality to the doorway.

Carole M. said...

interesting photos from another part of the world - thanks for sharing

Andrea said...

Hi Francisca, am glad you can sneak in sometime to post, thanks for the best wishes. What about those clothes hanging beside the door, and the floor mop? I think they also have significance, but not in feng shui. The meaning might be in the culture and the character of the one living there! LOL.

Sallie (FullTime-Life.com said...

Always happy to see you drop back in to "our world" for a little while === hopethe next foray behind the wall" goes well and you accomplish all you wish to.. hope too that you get lots of pictures to share when you come back.

Thank you for the wishes. Very interesting little lesson == you make it fun and easy to learn.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I find it so pleasing that the painting on the tiles is reminiscent of painted scrolls. That link to such a long, long tradition is wonderful and touching. A gift from the ancestors. I've missed your presence in our blog world. Hope you can stick around for a while. May the year of the dragon brings you lots of fook.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

What a fascinating entrance to this home! The hand painted tiles are amazing.

Andy said...

Nice to see you back blogging again. I've missed your fantastic photos. I'm glad to hear this is the Year of the Dragon. We need a dragon to counteract the end of the Mayan calendar ;-)

Linda said...

What interesting work! I love the use of the tiles! And thank you so much for the lesson about the culture - that always enhances the photos!

Hilda said...

Those are beautiful tiles! I wonder if the family here want a child. If yes, then I hope they get one in this year of the dragon.

Welcome back, Cisca! I hope you had a very productive two months.

VioletSky said...

The hand painted tiles offer a bit of quietness to the building, in contrast to the bright red and gold signs.

(but I am intrigued by the clothes hanging on the wall (now that you have explained the lettuce and orange...)

Francisca said...

Haha... the hanging clothes and mops against the wall are just "life in the country"... I was just musing out loud last week about the deleterious effect on our world when the Chinese discover drying machines. Currently public drying of clothes on balconies and other places outside is a ubiquitous sight all over China. Not pretty, but I tremble at the alternative.

JM said...

So many details. This is wonderful!

Traveling Hawk said...

I love those tiles, Francisca! I also saw some charms above the doors in Beijing, on old houses in futongs.

ewok1993 said...

very interesting. i am thinking maybe these are like lucky charms for chinese who value these things very much.

i'm joining monday mural for the first time.

RedPat said...

I love the tiles and that they are on a private home!

Theanne said...

an interesting doorway...while I enjoyed immensely all the objects/interpretation you pointed out...I find myself drawn to the more personal items, the hanging clothing and the mop!

FrankandMary said...

Tangerines & luck. Always two good things to have :-).
Enlarged did the trick...lovely. ~Mary

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Beautiful details and photos.

Regards and best wishes for you Francisca

Nellies said...

I think these tiles are beautiful Francisca, thank you for sharing!

Francisca said...

Yes, Andrea, you are right: the clothes and mop have no special significance. People here sure like to leave them and the clothes to dry in plain view... I could do an entire mop series... hmmm... :-D

Kaori said...

I love how the Chinese use the red color to celebrate! So bold and bright. Hope you have much luck and joy this year as well, Francisca! Good to hear from you ;D

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» works on the weekends and about 18 hours on Mondays, so it is often difficult for him to visit those who contribute to the memes he hosts. Thus, very belatedly, he thanks you for your contribution and hopes that you will join us any Sunday you have a bridge to post or Monday if you have an interesting door to post!

Maggie said...

Such an interesting post I think the quotation is wonderful,
Coming in and out safely with everything accomplished
Pursuing wealth without obstacles with profit arriving from all directions,
I may adopt it as my mantra!

Luna Miranda said...

i thought you were referring to the tangerine shorts.:p
i love the colorful signs and their messages.


Signs

Lesley said...

I linked you.....then forgot to comment!
I am in love with those tiles. I have a friend who had one whole wall with various Portuguese tiles scattered on her back wall at her first home. It broke up the bricks and was so colourful, I have wanted to copy that idea ever since.

Ebie said...

Hi Francisca, I was just browsing my reader, and I found a post/posts on your blog!

Welcome back, and you come back with a bang! Great murals and wishes for the the New Year. It is also nice to see some photos of my father's hometown.

LadyFi said...

Wow - these shots are stunning!

☆☆Mumsy said...

It's beautiful and interesting to see!

Pat Tillett said...

Amazing photo and information!
Folk art is everywhere. Thanks for posting the unusual for us.