This past weekend we went to an art museum in 王府井(Wangfujing), which is a neighborhood in central Beijing with a reputation for wonderful shopping and a notable bookstore. We were treated to an amazing tour by the staff and given the opportunity to go into a back room and watch some masters of arts work on various Chinese art forms. Among the few that we got to see were sculpting, paper cutting, instrument playing, painting, and so much more. One art that I found particularly impressive was the art of painting from inside a bottle, which I found out is extremely challenging!
But what really intrigued me(as you can see from all the pictures below) was the painted opera masks. While there I got to speak with the maker of all of these masks, the great 杨大师(Master Yang). He talked with my about the careful techniques used to make the masks, which is a combination of painign and sculpture that can take years! At the end he gave me a mask that he had been working on, which is a very special gift indeed. We were very fortunate to be granted this rare opportunity to learn about the diverse cultural art forms of China's history that are still being kept alive today, which is an expeience that I'm sure will stay with me for the rest of my life.
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<p>Hi, I'm Gretchen, and I'm currently a prospective Languages and Linguistics Major at Swarthmore College, PA. I was born in Rota Spain, and have grown up in various places around the states (notably Hawai'i), and am very excited to be participating in the Beijing Summer Language Intensive program! I'm really into all different types of art, and exploring that interest through all sorts of avenues (this blog will be one of them). On this trip I hope to gain not only language skills, but innumerable friends and experiences that last a lifetime. Join the adventures of an unapologetically queer, short (but not tiny) college student navigating one of the biggest cities in the world!</p>