Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chung Monk Mask, Korea

The Chung (or Jung) mask represents a monk who has wandered and transgressed. Without financial status and likely no children, the apostate character also has a lump on his forehead, often associated with gloom. However, when he saw Pune (she was urinating), he became turned on and later on even abducts her. With his wide, scrunched nose, squinty eyes, and wrinkled forehead, Chung is depicted as being sly, lewd, and lustful. Even his jerky steps connote deceitfulness and cunning behavior.
Read more about Chung mask on the Hahoe Museum website.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pune Mask, Korea

The Pune (or Bune) Hahoe mask from Korea is historically seen as a widow. With a gentle smile hinted at by the mouth and eyes, as well as crescent-shaped eyebrows and a thin high nose, the Pune depicts classical beauty according to traditional Korean standards. She is usually seen in performances with the Yongban and/or Sonbi, who boast of their high status and education in order to seduce her. Through actions and gestures (the character never speaks), Pune is somewhat flirtatious.
Read more about Pune on the Hahoe Mask Museum website.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yangban Mask, Korea

Prompted by a request from a friend about Korean masks, I decided to devote the next few blog posts on the topic. Featured here is the Yangban mask. This masked figure represents the aristocratic class during the Joseon Dynasty. With its happy, gentle expression, this wooden mask with a hinged jaw is perhaps the most popular of the Hahoe style masks.  When watching the Hahoe mask performance at Andong, the masked actor seemed to portray a slightly haughty disposition. The depiction of the aristocrat connoted in a somewhat mocking way that this higher class should be a bit more humble and approachable. Read more about the Yangban and other Hahoe masks at the Guide to the Hahoe Masks and the more academic writing from the Hahoe Museum.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rusty Gears and Weathered Paintbrushes

Here's a set of sculptures from the same hotel as the previous post. I love it how the artist took objects most would discard and combine them to make whimsical sculptures. In working with kids, some of their favorite projects have revolved around using recycled, discarded, or even "junk" materials to make their own creations. Giving them more freedom and less direction often resulted in the generation of high degrees of enthusiasm, creativity, and problem solving - and great finished projects. Kids began looking at "junk" in whole other ways after that. Now if only storage of these "precious" potential objects was unlimited....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Robotic Kimchi

When walking around at a hotel near Suncheon Bay in Korea, I spotted this cute sculpture made from recycled materials. Its head was formed from an item found in every traditional Korean home - the kimchi pot. So even after the pot outlived its useful years as a fermenting & storage vehicle for the favorite Korean dish, it now continues to bring smiles to passers-by.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weeping Winter and Spring Tree

Although not the exact same angle, these two photos show the willow-like trees in front of Gyeonghoeru Pavilion at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. Both views have their own tranquil beauty. Having lived in India for the four years prior, it was a while since I saw a frozen body of water. If the pond had been in Wisconsin, there may have been fishermen eager to get their ice fishing gear on the ice. Here in Seoul, the frozen pond was undisturbed, just as the still waters of the spring scene.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Through the Paddy Field

Through the Paddy Field
Color Pencil
by Melissa Enderle

Paddy fields such as this are very common in South India. I loved seeing the brilliant green of a lush field. Each paddy is rather small and is bordered by a raised mound of dirt. In this color pencil drawing, a farmer leads two of his cows on the narrow raised border of a Tamil Nadu field. Distorted, but discernible reflections of each is found in the flooded field in the bottom portion of the drawing. Measuring only about 24x44 cm, this rather small drawing made it a bit more challenging to render the figures. It did fit well into my suitcase back to Korea though!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Bush for the Seasons

One of the nice things about photographing places in the city in which you live is that you can get similar shots at different seasons. Here we see the pavilion Hyangwonjeong, located on a small island at the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. Although both scenes are beautiful, I much prefer the spring season.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Snow-Covered Chimney

Now covered with a fresh layer of snow, this chimney next to a palace building in Seoul would have likely looked a bit different when it was being used. Fueled with wood, the floors of this building would have been kept toasty warm even during the cold Korean winter. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Rippled Beauty

The snow blankets the tiled rooftops of a residential building in the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul with beautiful ripples of white. Quite a contrast to the colorful patterning of the rest of the building.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Gathered Garlic and Flattened Fishies

Markets are one of my favorite places to photograph. Although these images lack the color of many produce stands, I found the arrangements of these two staples of the Korean diet to be dynamic and attractive. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy New Year - Tamil Style

When teaching in Chennai, the capital city of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, I particularly enjoyed walking the streets during main holidays. On such special occasions,  the daily white rice flour kolams rendered by women In front of homes and some businesses were replaced with colorful designs. On particularly important festivities such as Pongal (harvest festival) and weddings, the particularly large kolam might extend well into the road as well. In the photo above we see a woman working on the kolam she made for New Years.