Thursday, July 09, 2009
China Diary -- Part 34 The Master and the Bridge
The next morning I skipped breakfast and took my camera for a walk in the gardens outside our hotel. It was a very pleasant place, but nothing compared to the gardens we soon would see. Our first journey, however, was a trip to another shopping opportunity.
We climbed into our buses and headed out. Our destination was the Yangtze River Bridge, an important symbol of Chinese independence.
The bridge was built in the 1960s during a time of increasing tension [well, actually a border war!] between China and the Soviet Union. The project had been started with Soviet assistance, but when the Soviet engineers were pulled out, the Chinese finished construction on their own. It was the first major modern construction project done without foreign assistance and was celebrated as proof that Chinese engineers and technicians were the equal of any in the world. And in case there was any doubt as to who was responsible for this wonder there is this...
But what about the shopping opportunity? Well, in the structure under the bridge there was a "crystal factory" with extensive showrooms attached. It was staffed, as usual, by large numbers of young women. And in the center was the workplace of "the Master", an artist who specialized in painting on the inside, rather than the outside of vessels. Here he is at work.
And here is a sample of his work.
Eventually the shoppers among us were sated, we boarded our buses and headed out for lunch.