Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Xmas

Merry Xmas 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Handcraft Papercutting

In Beijing, one of the most impressive folk arts is the papercutting (Chinese: 剪紙). It is the handcraft of Chinese people which use a skillful and creative technique to cut the paper and turn it to a very attractive decoration on the doors, windows, columns, walls and lamps. Every time when I visit Beijing, I take many photos for the papercuttings as they are very beautiful and unique.

Checking the history, the tradition for papercutting was started in 6th century. It was served for religious purpose at first. There are two ways for doing the papercuttings: scissors method and knife method. Today, papercuttings are chiefly used as decoration in many special events, like Chinese New Year, Marriage and cerebrate the birthday.

There is a quite funny study: In the countryside, papercuttings are usually made only by women and girls. This used to be one of the crafts that every girl was to master and that were often used to judge brides. Professional papercutting artists are, on the other hand, almost always men who have guaranteed incomes and work together in workshops.

You can have a look of our papercuttings, we have many different kind of topics, like the Chinese Drama Face, Dragon, Butterfly and many other different animals.

Feel free to contact us at arranke28@gmail.com if you're interested in our papercuttings! Enjoy!

References:
1. Wikipedia: Chinese Paper Cutting
2. Wikipedia: Papercutting
3. Global Chinese Language And Culture Center: The History and Art of Paper Cutting
4. Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau: Chinese Papercutting
5. ChinaVista: Paper Cutting

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nice Lhasa, Excellent Hostel

Potala Palace at NightDuring our trip to Tibet, "Jui Hing" ("祝興家庭旅社" in Traditional Chinese) is one of the greatest family hostel in Lhasa. It is opened by a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Tang. Besides living, you can experience friendship, kindness and love in here. Jui Hing Family Hostel is only 5-10 minutes away from historic ensemble of the Potala Palace, the transportation is very convenience and you can access most of the famous places in Lhasa easily.

Potala Palace in Day TimeThere are different types of bed rooms, 1-3 people that suits different combination of travellers. The rooms situation are wonderful, you can see from the pictures, rooms are clean and tidy, with standard size of bed and TV set, toilet and bathrooms are clean too. Outside the rooms, there's a sitting rooms which you can see the Potala Palace very clear, and it's great for you to take photos during sunset. Many travellers like to rest in the sitting room as they can chat and exchange information with each other.

Next time, if you are in Jui Hing, please help me to send my concern to Mr. and Mrs. Tang, they are really so nice to us, treat us as family member.



Jui Hing Family Hostel
Jui Hing Family Hostel
Two Bed Room
Two Bed Room
Three Bed Room
Three Bed Room


If you need more information about this hostel, please contact us at arranke28@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Carving a Chinese Seal

By a small graver, Uncle Chun, from Man Wa Lane, is simply sculpturing on stones bringing out five-thousand-year Chinese culture implicitly.

When Uncle Chun was about ten years old, he formally became a pupil to a master to learn a craft for almost 20 years. When recalling the memories in those years, he spoke the joy and sorrow for learning carving excitedly. For craving a seal, you not only need to know the penmanship, but also have to learn different ways in manufacturing and how to handle different fonts of writing. "Even if you have a beautiful handwriting, it doesn’t mean that you can become a famous craftsman." Uncle Chun was speaking slowly and tirelessly. Penmanship is just a small part for making a seal since the word is written in a reverse way. Moreover, you have to use a carving tool instead of a writing brush; writing on a stone instead of one piece of paper. Besides, the font for craving is quite different from writing and therefore we cannot just copy and paste the same word exactly. His master, Mr. Chan Shiu Man, gives him a lot of freedom so that Uncle Chun can have much room for creation and exposure. Master Chan's enlightened attitude impressed Uncle Chun a lot. And Uncle Chun admired Master Chan's style of work as well.

"A seal can be divided into two types", Uncle Chun said, "Practical and Artistic". Generally speaking, the main user for practical stamp is the company. The seal is most commonly used to sign upon any receipt; artistic stamp is mostly for personal purpose, for example, like sealing on a calligraphy and painting. Since there are different usages for the seal, it will be a different way on how to make a seal to suit for different purposes. The font and the character of the stamp must be neat and uniform so that the name of the Company can be shown clearly. On the other hand, there is much room for creating an artisan seal. You are relatively free to choose the font of the seal for your favour. The edge of the seal has to be beaten so as to show the primitive simplicity and the beauty of imperfection.

The meaning of "Yin and Yang" ("陰陽" in Traditional Chinese) is always shown on the making of a seal, the concave part means "Yin" while the convex part means "Yang". The intaglio character is in white color and so always named as "white characters" (or "白文" in Traditional Chinese or Baiwen in Mandarin); the character carved in relief is in red color and so called as "red characters" (or "朱文" in Traditional Chinese or Zhuwen in Mandarin).

Since Hong Kong is an international city with mixed cultures, apart from Chinese, Uncle Chun will carve a seal in English character per customers' request, sometimes even including Japanese or Korean. However, with rapid development on the scientific technology, the demand for the practical use of the seal decreases. Needless to say, less people can really understand or treasure the aesthetics on seal making. "For now, the people who are most interested or appreciate the seal making are all the tourists, but not the local people." Uncle signed with sorrow.

For ordering, please contact us at arranke28@gmail.com.

References:
Wikipedia: Seal (Chinese)

More Photos:
http://picasaweb.google.com/arranke28/Seals

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Escape from Hong Kong

Long time no update! It wasn't that we were lazy - we went to Tibet during 30-June to 14-July. We used our time for preparing to Tibet and traveling in Tibet! Luckily, we came back Hong Kong so then we can continue our Arranke!

Life becomes different after Tibet trip. We got some special energies and insights from there. Maybe landscapes or people gave us that changes. During the trip, we thought lots of things, including the directions of Arranke. After reviews and reviews, we've decided to go ahead. We'll focus more time on our business - Arranke!

Tibet is a wonderful place; Lhasa is a beautiful city! We recommend highly you to travel there, especially by train. We'll post our itineraries and photos later on. Please keep your eyes on Arranke!

References:
Nothing Special at Saiwan: Tibet (Chinese)

Hey, Hei Hei!

Chinese character is one of the most interesting written languages in the world, as it composed with different kind of classifications like pictograms, simple indicatives and compound indicatives etc. Among all, a Chinese word "Hei" ("囍" in Traditional Chinese or "Xi" in Mandarin) which you can always see it in Chinese celebration events. It is a symbol which has the meaning of joyful, bliss and auspicious to the new married couple.

There's a meaningful story behind the "Hei". The famous Chinese poem writer - Wang Anshi in Song Dynasty, he designed "Hei" from his life experience. When Wang was young, in his way to the imperial examination, he saw a couplet outside a renowned family called Ma. However, he was hurry for the examination, so he didn't complete it. During the imperial examination he found that this couplet was in his examination and he was delighted. After the examination, Wang visited the Ma's family to complete the couplet. Ma was happy to his answer and so Wang got married with Ma's daughter. On the wedding day, Wang received the good news from imperial examination. As Wang was getting married (one happiness) and received the good news from imperial examination (another happiness), he designed to put the "喜" (means happiness) to become "囍" (means double happiness). Thus people keep using it in weddings as a pair of happiness means fortune to the couple.

Many people love this and it will be great if you can put on something about "囍" in your special events like a wedding party! Some people even wear it as decoration because they believe that it can bring luck and happiness for their life.
















References:
Wikipedia: Chinese Character Classification
Wikipedia: Shuang Xi
Yahoo! Knowledge: Origin of Hei (Chinese)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Arranque from Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the mixture of the East and the West. When these two distinct cultures collide, what's the cultural singularity in this hybrid city?

The answer is "Arranke".

Arranke is the transformation of Spanish word, arranque, which means a starting point. Meanwhile, the inside "k" is the initial K of the abbreviation of Hong Kong – Kong. We, Hongkongers, call our city as "Kong" for short. Arranke, thus, is our beginning of Hong Kong Chinese culture.

Let's go!