Saturday, May 12, 2007
These are rice wine fermenting jars with a front display of rice and cinnamon sticks. The jars are about 2 i/2 tall by 18" wide and are glazed clay decorated with chops, patterns of open weave material and other designs. They are almost gone as a purchasable item BUT one of our TAS teachers collects them and sells them. We bought 5..the record for a single purchase..and they are now serving as the base for a coffee table, another glass top side table for drinks and the TV remotes, and we have another for tall floral arrangements. They are very unique and we are overjoyed to have them.
I will not presume upon Carol by telling you too much about this but she has really fallen in love with TaiChi. This is not surprising because it has many qualities in common with ballet, except for that killing thing. She is part of a competition "team" who here are doing a demonstration at TAS Spring Festival. Carol, ever the stage personality, announced them.
This is inside a temple on Sunday pm. The tables in front are for the offerings to the ancestors..fruit, flowers,and really ornate tall stacks of Taiwan beer with bows and ornamentation...I know I have blogged about this before. People offer their prayers and wave seven sticks of incense..one for each major god/altar so the environment is very scented with the incense, almost to the point of being chocking.
I may have noted earlier that sweet potatos are very big here. This is a clay charcoal oven for baking sweet potatos sold along the street. They are washed, and hung on hooks over the mano wood charcoal and served cut in half in a newspaper wrap. Yummy!
We took Carol's mom Lucille to Guando temple near Danshui during her visit with us. In this hugh complex of temples are many altars to many gods. In front of many of them were thousands of #5 tin cans wrapped beautifully and filled with sand, scissors, magnifying glass and a ruler. I was told that these are offerings for help with students' exams and that many parents and children come to pray at this time...kind of the Asian version of a cheat sheet.
Speaking of which, our school has had a major crisis as several students were able to get passwords and hack into the grade system. Our superintendent and administrators did a great job finding out how far the damage went by calling in a major computer manufacturing company and then calling in another internet security firm to check their findings. The students are not with us anymore because the creditability of the institution is done for if the high end universities think that grades are compromised. I am not saying too much here because it is a public space but more in person as is appropriate.