In one of her less ‘subconscious’ compositions, Dong Yuan’s creatures coalesce into an image of Chairman Mao on the 100 renminbi note. The painting is meant as a critique on an ‘ugly by-product’ of China’s fast-paced modernization, the writhing mass of creatures representing the greed-obsessed, ‘awful side of human nature’.
Lam Tung-pang employs similar currency-related imagery in his recent works. Two Hong Kong currency notes, printed onto Xuan paper and then mounted on canvas, have been methodically ‘erased’, leaving the faded images of a 10 HK dollar note from the British colonial era and a contemporary 100 HK dollar note issued by the Bank of China. In a 2012 article in the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Lam mused that ‘Administratively, much of Hong Kong has returned to the way it was mandated by China, but its culture and lifestyle won’t return for at least fifty years… We are exactly in the moment of the shift… After one hundred years, there may no longer be a Hong Kong dollar bill, and our identity will not be found anywhere. Perhaps that’s why so many possibilities could happen at this moment.’
The online newsletter Coins Weekly runs a regular feature “Who’s Who in Numismatics”, introducing people who are active in the field. So far, in terms of people working on East Asian numismatics, they have featured Joe Cribb and last week the spotlight was on François Thierry de Crussol. I hope they’ll also go further afield and feature some of the numismatists based in East Asia too. (BTW, subscription to Coins Weekly is free) (more…)
JEAN began as a paper journal in 1994, and since 2016 has transformed into a bilingual (Chinese and English) e-journal. The Chinese editor is Michael Chou. The English editor is Bruce W. Smith. There’s a good introduction to the journal and the editors here. (more…)
In his oil paintings of young children, Chinese artist Li Zijian 李自健 often shows them wearing a silver lock (baijiasuo 百家锁) around the neck. The locks are for protection, to lock the child into life. For examples of real silver locks, see Pinterest or Primaltrek. (more…)