Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chinese "Thank You" Scrolls

This Summer and Fall, Alice has had some Chinese scrolls on the living room walls. They looked different every few weeks. Some new ink artwork one week, some more bright red "chops" the next. Finally, some caligraphy was added.
Many people helped to create them. Ao and Pat's Jasmine helped Alice find the blank scrolls in a Beijing shop. Sopranos Janice and Yumi did the art. Janice painted Stanford Taiko on the Great Wall of China for Mrs. Bing, and Yumi painted Steve and Jindong along with some of those they conducted in China this past June and July. Carolyn K. and Lisa did the Chinese caligraphy, and Yumi added some Japanese caligraphy for Steve since he and his family can speak Japanese. The Great Wall scroll has the title "Cosmic Flames" in honor of the piece of music Stanford commissioned for chorus, orchestra and taiko for performance in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing right before the Summer Olympics 2008.
More than a hundred singers and musicians who performed Cosmic Flames so far have added their own chops. Alice added a chop with my Chinese name included in her Chinese chop. So I'm on those scrolls, too! Perhaps more than a hundred others who went on that Stanford/China Music Tour will add some more chops and perhaps also some more caligraphy.
This week my Roger is in China. Perhaps he might have a scroll made there? It's weird, Alice says. Steve's Dad* was a POW from Japan stuck in Siberia after WWII, and Roger is visiting this week an infamous POW camp in China where horrific "medical" experiments were done on Allied POWs. I wonder what a Chinese/Japanese/English scroll might look like to commemorate this weekend? Perhaps something with many individual's sayings and chops? Like those old well-loved scrolls with many people's additions. Layers and layers of meanings....

*I.A. Sano "One Thousand Days in Siberia"