Ephemeral everyday art

Ephemeral everyday art, a grass lantern from 上里 (Shang Li).

I went to a small “old town” in Sichuan last summer called Shang Li. It’s a pleasant place to stroll around, see a lot of older (Ming era & thereabouts) buildings and cross & re-cross the river via moon bridge or stepping stones.

In the center of town, a trio of young girls were sitting and folding palm leaves into shapes. They made little frogs and flowers and lanterns like this one. They mostly ignored the tourists who were snapping their pictures, and one girl was reading a school book, turning pages as she folded and plaited.

By the time i arrived back in Chengdu, a few hours later, this little lantern already started to wilt and dry out, but isn’t the glory of art & art-y things derive from the moments or minutes or hours of joy that they give us viewers?


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