01 November 2008


My cognitive space of home breeches borders and includes viewing the framed calligraphy of "Spring" by a Peking University professor, burning Japanese (temple) incense, sipping green tea (steaming with undertones of honeysuckle) from the cup I purchased at a small Shanghai shop; surrounded by sundry other objects--tea sets, chops, jades, silks, statues all bought in Taiwan, China, and Japan--and visualize that I am a Tang Dynasty scholar (with no attempt to read the Analects and no talent for any Chinese arts) living and creating in my micro-space of an imagined scholar's studio (described below).


This 'studio world' was a very special space. It was a physical space, often a pavilion set apart in the garden, screened perhaps by bamboos, a place of seclusion and privilege, where the literati could elaborate their fantasies, surrounded by their favourite knick-knacks (strangely carved inkstones, armrests for calligraphy, paperweights, brushes, seals, incense burners, weird roots and rocks etc.). It is in just such a space as this that many of the experiences and encounters of Strange Tales take place. But the 'Studio' was more than this: it was also a symbolic space, a gestalt. It denoted a whole cultural, spiritual, aesthetic and sensual world.

We all live in symbolic spaces. I have described mine.

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