The X100 and the Mid-Autumn Festival

Saturday night in Shenzhen with the Fuji X100
Saturday night in Shenzhen with the Fuji X100

I spent the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Shenzhen, China: My old stomping ground, with old friends, including a Fuji X100. It was a couple of days of cheap beer and eats, a whole different world than Hong Kong. This is hard to believe as they are so close together. Can 50 miles make literally a world of difference? Absolutely.

I had been shooting some street photos with a Fuji X-Pro1 and a 35mm lens. They X-Pro1 has gotten a lot of good reviews, I know several photographers that have set aside their DSLRs and shoot exclusively with the X-Pro1. There will be no ringing endorsement from me – perhaps it’s the learning curve but I can only describe my experience as “meh.” The fact my memory card was bad (or the card slot on the X-Pro1 is faulty) did not help improve my impressions. Continue reading “The X100 and the Mid-Autumn Festival”

Humen China: Opium Ponds and Dormitories

Opium Ponds and Factory Dormitories

A factory dormitory overlooks the ponds in Humen China where nineteenth century “Drug Zsar” Lin Zexu destroyed 1.2 million kilos of British opium in 1839. The site, part of the Opium War Museum in Humen, China, is still used to symbolic destroy narcotics during anti-drug campaigns.

Lin wrote to England’s Queen Victoria and asked: By what right do they then in return use the poisonous drug to injure the Chinese people?

Humen, often overlooked by travelers, features two fantastic musuems, and several historic sites including the fortifications used to fight the invading British forces.

 

Humen China: Stilts on the water

Humen China: Stilts on the Water

The Bocca Tigris is the area near Humen China, where the Pearl River dumps into the South China Sea. Three forts, build before the First Opium War, cover the strategic passage (They didn’t help). The forts are still there, as is this more modern building.

With most Chinese cities densely populated, why not take to the water?

Humen China: Flickering devotions on once-seized land

Humen China Temple Candles
Humen China Temple Candles

Candles at Humen China’s Yuxu Ancient Temple, part of the Lin Zexu Memorial Park, in Humen, Guangdong Province, China. Yuxu is the place in Chinese mythology, where the immortals live. Authorities are unsure when the temple was built.  A stone marker in the temple explains it was repaired in 1800.

Humen was the town where Lin Zexu seized and destroyed opium imported by British traders, and the first town attacked in Britain’s subsequent retaliation: The Opium War.

Guangzhou China: Artisan

Carving jewelery outside of Chen Jia Si, Guangzhou, China.
Carving jewelery outside of Chen Jia Si, Guangzhou, China.

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In Guangzhou China, the artist carves jewelery out of animal bone: Pendants for necklaces, charms for bracelets and anklets.  He offered me a discount on a necklace bearing the carved likeness of an Olympic mascot. I have seen enough of the Beijing Olympic Fuwa(s), thank you very much.

I settled on a break-apart medallion, reminiscent of an ancient Chinese royal seal. One half shows a carved dragon, the symbol of the emperor, the other a phoenix, the symbol of the empress.

Guangzhou China at dawn

Guangzhou, China, at dawn

Guangzhou China, Guangdong Province: One of the largest cities in China, and home to kings, rebellion, and martyrs. The city traces its beginnings to 214 BCE, and has been constantly inhabited.

The Pearl River, (Zhu Jiang, 珠江), the runs through Guangzhou, and has brought explorers, traders, and pirates. After the first opium war, Guangzhou was made a treaty port, allowing French and British traders to set up shop.


Shenzhen China: A candle for the goddess

A candle for Tianhou, the Mother of Heaven, and Goddess of the Sea, from a temple in Shenzhen China. While the following information is related to Buddhism, and Tianhou is part of the Taoist pantheon, the symbolism is probably the same:

Candles are a traditional part of Buddhist ritual observances. Along with incense and flowers, candles (or some other type of light source, such as butter lamps) are placed before Buddhist shrines or images of the Buddha as a show of respect. They may also be accompanied by offerings of food and drink. The light of the candles is described as representing the light of the Buddha’s teachings, echoing the metaphor of light used in various Buddhist scriptures.

from: Wikipedia

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Shenzhen: Prayers at the tomb of the boy-king

Prayers for the Last Emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty.

The Mongol army’s conquest was almost complete. China’s Song Dynasty lay in ruins at the hands of the invaders. The imperial court sent the emperor’s brothers, two young princes (and heirs), aged seven and nine, south to Guangdong Province. There, resistance and the dynasty, would continue.

The eldest, Zhao Shi, was declared emperor but became ill and died while holding court in what is now Kowloon (Hong Kong). The younger brother, Zhao Bing, took to the throne.

The Song army was defeated in southern China at the Battle of Yamen in 1279. Rather than let the emperor be taken prisoner, a court official, Lu Xiufu, grabbed the young royal and leapt into the sea.

The body of a child, clothed in the yellow dragon-embroidered robes of the emperor, washed up on the shore of Chiwan, near Shekou (now part of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province). After prayers at the nearby Tian Hou Temple, local people buried the boy on a hillside, facing the sea.

The tomb is a popular place with visitors and was granted historic status by local government officials. Prayers and offerings are left for the boy-king who died rather than surrender.