Wei bi 魏壁

 
 
 
 

Weibi was born in a village in the north of Hu’nan Provinceused to live and work in Shenzhen and Dalian. Now live in his hometown Mengxi.

 

Exhibition

Sep. 2015  Meng Xi      Minsheng ART Museum   Shanghai

Aug. 2015  Meng Xi     Singapore International Photography Festival   Sigapore

April 2014  Meng Xi     Hubei Art Museum   Wuhan

Nov. 2013  Meng Xi      Lianzhou FOTO   Lianzhou

Oct. 2013   Meng Xi     1st Beijing Photo Biennal   Beijing

Nov. 2013  Highland      Taibei International Photography Festival   Taibei

Aug. 2013 □□□□□□.□.□□—□.□  Dali International Photography Exhibition  Dali

Mar. 2013  Meng Xi     Portraiture Now-Shanghai Photography Exhibition  Shanghai

Dec. 2012   Meng Xi      The French National Library Talent Fund Award Exhibition  Pairs

Oct. 2012   Meng Xi       Anhui Yi county International Photography Festival   Anhui

Oct. 2102   Meng Xi       Jinan Internatioanl Photography Biennial  Jinan

Dec. 2011   Meng Xi       Top 20 China New Prominent Group Exhibition Hangzhou

Oct. 2011   Meng Xi       Chinese Landscape  Guangzhou Embassy   Guangzhou

Aug. 2011   Meng Xi       Dali International Photography Vanguard of Asia Exhibition  Dali

Mar. 2011  Meng Xi        The second Exhibtion in the Chinese Landscape Series  see+ gallery  Beijing

Dec. 2011□□□□□□.□.□□—□.□Four Dimensions-Contemporary Photography from China,HongKong,Taiwan,&Macau   Hong kong

Oct. 2010  Meng Xi         Inter gallery  Beijing

Sep. 2010  Meng XI        Da Li International Photography Exhibition     Da Li

Nov. 2009    □□□□□□.□.□□—□.□  ‘Brave New World Athens Art Center of Photograph Greece

Nov.2009 □□□□□□.□.□□—□.□ International Discoveries II Houston America

May. 2009   □□□□□□.□.□□—□.□    Photograph Exhibition, Guangzhou ‘Look D.com Guangdong Art Gallery, Guangzhou

Dec.2007  The Gourmet Village   Hou Dengke Photograph Foundation Real Story Photograph Exhibition Qiya Vision, Beijing

May.2007  No title         Photograph Exhibition, Guangzhou “Left-Right“Line of Sight” Guangdong Art Gallery, Guangzhou

Dec.2005 Paper-folding Ship    Lianzhou International Photograph Exhibition   Lianzhou

Sep.2003 Xichong & Mengxi   Pingyao International Photograph Exhibition    Pingyao

 

 
 
 
Caption:
 
My Dreamed Stream
 
001.  BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF THE ISLE IN THE DONGTING LAKE
 
Only this photo was taken, after I had a boring day in Hanshou without my buddies, Chunlin and Wanglaowu accompanied, walking more than 10 kilometers by foot. That was what I predicted.
 
The end of the bridge is the limit of Nanxian. I would have spend night at the little fishing town, Guantouzui on my itinerary,but I gave up finally for feeling it uncomfortable and left away by riding a motorcycle taxi.
 
On my way to the pier, I passed another little town, Shimeitang, whose name was unforgettable, enjoying the picturesque view of a church surrounded by the vast land of vegetable oil flowers. 
 
 
002. WITHERED BAMBOO IN THE BEACH
 
It was drizzling when we went toward the south along the eastern side of the Dongting Lake. The weather was too bad, and everybody felt a little bit relaxed only by Wanglaowu’s impromptu poetry nevertheless on the hard photographing tour.  
 
Down to the south, we kept going to an ancient little country town Zhangguying and then to Yueyang. Finally we arrived at Lujiao, a small fishing town where I was attracted most among those I visited in the Dongting Lake.  I loved this small town not only its lake view, but those antique porcelain pieces collected in the pier, which I could appreciate their valuable ancient culture in coming days.
 
 
003. MAN IN PALM COAT 
 
 (The palm coat was traditionally uesd as a rain-proof for the farmer in  the southern China)
 
Rolled his last drop of yellow tears down his cheeks, father past away at the same age as me today when I was 18 and knew little about the suffering from the loss of the loved ones. Right now, the longer the time spent outside, the more I yearn to my hometown, to my prematurely died father.
 
Two stories I’v never forgotten  in my life when I remember my father.
 
Once upon a time, when I was a little kid in the elementary school, one day I was trapped on the way home by a big summer storm. At that time when I needed help urgently, my dad appeared in front of me. Wearing a palm coat, dad rushed to the site to picke me up and carried me on his back,passing through the road damaged by the flood.  
 
Momentarily I felt much safe and warm ,even though my body was hit by the  hard palm leaves of dad’s palm coat and then forgot the fear of the dad as usaual in my childhood.
 
Anaoher story I cann’t forget was taken place in the cotton field of the family’s farm. To trade my help to pick up the cotton, dad always promised to tell me some thrilling stories which made me so excited that I always wanted to explore them. 
 
Even my father was illiterate but he really was a professional novelist and story teller in my mind.
 
004.FISHING NETS  
 
Almost my grandma spent her whole life in the ship. In my childhood, I would like to spend my summer and winter vacations in my grandparent’s home as holidays. My grandpa was educated and a smart guy in the village,who could operate the traditional Chinese calculator with either hand, and had a beautiful handwritings.  He was a known strongman with weight lifting even at his 60s. It was my joyful time to go fishing with my grandpa and I always made mistake to call “fishing” as “ netting “. 
 
At that time, my grandpa always kissed me with his hard beard on my tender cheeks as a punishment and made me screamed to laugh for help. What a happy day we had!
 
Today, I still remember that I was so attracted by my grandma’s homemade cookies that sometimes I ate without her permission and her beautiful and fruitful garden, where there were a lot of sweet melons and reddish tomatoes.
 
Right now, my grandparent has been past away and they both have been set at rest peacefully beneath those weeds covered tombs and no more joyous time they even gave me I can expect to have!
 
005. TAOIST PRIEST WANG
 
Being devoted to his lifetime to evangelizing, Taoist Priest Wang’s father was confined to bed. Wang, a farmer, had to inherit mantle of his father, walking through towns and villages with free time.
 
In the earlier days, Wang, a “Dumb and Dumber” farmer in the field, was felt a little bit disappointed, and no one believed him a Taoist Priest. But Wang was looked being a really live priest as soon as he put on his robe.
 
Could that be the power of clothing?
 
Why could a robe be such magical?
 
Wearing a jean, I was afraid, no one would have trusted him even he had had evangelization in the temple.
 
006. THE MISTY OF THE LI RIVER
 
Comparing with the vastness and mightiness of Heilongjiang River in the Northeastern China and the deep of the sea in the north, the rivers in the southern China look sexy as pretty women, charming and attractive.
 
Facing the running water in the Li River in my hometown, emotionally I recalled one of famous   Confucius’ sayings, “ Time lost just like water run away”.
 
007. PLOW AND HANDLER
 
To take this photo, uncle Guangcai, plowing in the field, had to cut off his work and walked a few kilometers to demo for me. When finished, I gave him a carton of fine cigarettes as appreciation, but he refused to take. With a smile, he said that it would be his pleasure to do it for me. 
 
Just like my father, uncle Guangcai was a humble and taciturn countryman.
 
In the structure of Chinese characters,the bottom of  ” PLOW ” is the word “COW”, who was fundamental power being used in the ancient China.  
 
While the farms mechanized in the modern society, less and less kids, I am afraid, know what it would be a Classical Chinese Plow and its relationship to cow.
 
In my childhood, just like the cowherds in the masterpiece of Li Keren, a known modern Chinese painter, I used to felt proud with joyousness while shepherding the cattle and plowing in the farm. Sometimes I was ignored 
 
By the animals , who kept motionless refusing to work, because of my unskilled operation even whipping hard.
 
 
008. PICTURESQUE ISLE IN THE LI RIVER
 
One day, on my way to Yanshan Mountain (Smoking Mountain) with my buddy, Chunlin, we found a very picturesque view, where there was an egret sleeping deeply with a single foot standing on the isle in front of us ,and on the right side, two farm houses located quietly in the jungle surrounded by two rivers crossed, Li River and Dao River. 
 
There was a small  village ferryboat operated by an old man. We were greeted friendly by barking of a baby dog when asking for a river crossing. 
 
We paid one yuan (Chinese dollar) as fee to the old man, when landing at the other side of the river, where stood the Yanshan Mountain. 
 
At the foot of the mountain, there were vast of land and a flock of cattle and sheep wandering peacefully. 
 
We enjoyed the joyousness to see the farmers working in the field lively and felt a little low-spirited for our inaction to no avail.
 
 
009. BUSH FIRE ON THE DIKE 
 
On our winter photographing tour from Lujiao to Zhongzhou,the Dongting Lake looked like lifeless and indistinct. Suffered from the boring and tedious ,the group of four walked more than 20 kilometers and felt lonely.  
 
To have some fun to make us excited, someone set a bush fire on the dike, which was a very common game for the southern Chinese kids in the country. On the way, we enjoyed the warmness and crackles by the fire with cheers and laughing, just like being back to the childhood. 
 
Dazhi , a young man from the northern China, who had never seen a buffalo before, threw a stone to bother a male, who was eating grasses on the dike peacefully, and irritated the animal to attack, making everybody so scared to run away. Fortunately, the buffalo had being restrained by the rein otherwise we might have had a horrible experience. 
 
Don’t bother a male buffalo, which was a vital common practice for the kids in my childhood and I knew what serious it would be in my memory.
 
We finally arrived at Zhongzhou in the evening. In the hotel, we sorted out the antique porcelain pieces collected from the Dongting Lake area and had a simple dinner party to celebrate what we had gained in the daily tour by taking a nude photo together.
 
 
 010. LAOSI , FISHING FORK 
 
 “Si” in Chinese means four, as a nickname “Laosi” meaning the fourth child in the family traditionally in China. 
 
Laosi , his name was Shi Dequan, one generation younger than I in the Shi family in the village, but the same age as me. In my childhood, as buddies, we liked to do some naughty thing together, sometimes stealing pears from the other’s orchards, and even taking the whole branch of the fluid from the trees to home to enjoy  for safety case.
 
Laosi was a humble boy and always bullied by me.  I still remember that I even pushed his elder brother and him both call me “dad”, which was a very odd thing happened in my village, Shijiatai   at that time.
 
Laosi’s mother committed suicide by hanging herself for no reason when I was in my elemental school, which was quite often happened for the women in the country at that time. 
 
I had been invited to join a dinner with him whenever I returned to the village,Shijiatai, enjoying his delicious food such as organic chicken raised in his farm, recalling his old stories while drinking.
 
It wouldn’t have been such easy for this photographing without Laosi’s help.
 
  
011. THE TILTED TREE ON THE SHORE 
 
In a foggy morning last summer, I revisited the Linan, where there was a reserved wetland, I had astonished by the natural beauty of this wildness when standing there. 
 
At the moment, I realized the dignity of the nature and felt the importance to worship it. 
 
 
 
I was lost in thought and asked myself that why didn’t I have such feeling when wandering out of my hometown?  
 
Finally, I figured out that just like the old saying: “ love me, love my dog.” 
 
 
012.FISHERMAN
 
The father of my brother in law was a fisherman. The in-law even told me a funny story that at mid-night of a Chinese New Year’s Eve, he joined a group of young men, including his dad, the old man in this photo, to steal fishing in a restricted lake, Songluhu. 
 
Unfortunately they were found by the property owner and run away. Suddenly my in-law was caught tightly to the waist   and he tried to get off to escape by throwing the catcher into the lake.
 
 
 
“ Stop! Stop! I am your dad, son!”  At the moment when heard a very familiar voice, my in-law was surprised to find that the man he fought was really his father.
 
My in-law’s dad would have experienced a tragedy in such cold water at mid-night if my in-law had done. What funny thing it was!
 
It was very common to have such dumbfounding things happened daily in the villages in the old time.
 
 
 
013. PONDS IN SHUANGZHOU
 
Shuangzhou, meaning twin isles, covered by a large tract of old tree, was a very attractive and mysterious place located at the center of the Yuan River in Taoyuan county, Hunan, China. I deeply lingered as I paid visit each time. 
 
 
 
Taoyuan is known for modern Chinese calligraphers, such as Zhang Xiliang,a follower of Zhao Zhiqian in Qing Dynasty, Zhou Shaojian , whose artistic works being similar to ones of Sushi, a renowned Chinese poet and calligrapher in Song Dynasty, and Cijun, a woman artist whose standardized form of Chinese character being my favorite.
 
I revisited this place again in this winter to photograph the tombstones in the cemetery in a forest, which I missed in my last trip.  Even thought, being shorter history than the other ancient ones, those worn tombstones were looked being old-fashioned. 
 
 
 
014. GRANDPA TIGER WITH A BAMBOO POLE
 
Grandpa Tiger was known for his good faming work. With a big family they had a big farm allocated by the local government after privatization several years ago, but only he could work in the family in spite of many members.
 
Vibrantly and lushly, the farm is managed well so that it has became the model of the villagers. 
 
Past his 80s, grandpa Tiger is still looked very healthy and strong. After spent three days for my grandma’s funeral, he still could enjoy the talking show.
 
 
 
015. BUSHES AND WEEDS IN LINAN
 
 
 
 “Moonlighted Forest on the Shore”, “Moon Observing Heights”, “God Sleeping Isle”, “String Broken Port”, Fairy House”,“Administration Street” and “Tents Street”……
 
Each place or street name mentioned above in the local or Lizhou city may tell you a unique or romantic story, including Mengxi, my birthplace, and Yanshan Mountain (Smoking Mountain) in the south bank of Li River.
 
The ancient city Lizhou has been demolished with its classical wall torn down and modern buildings standing instead of its old-fashioned. 
 
Surrounded by the weeds, the remnant of an old farmhouse damaged by a flood has been reserved so far, so that I could have had the chance to enjoy the wildness in this remote area, whenever I returned to my hometown
 
 
 
016. AUNT ZHUZE WITH HER MANUAL SHELLER
 
Aunt Zhuze was my mother’s buddy and her husband, uncle Qian was my father’s good friend too when my dad was alive.
 
Located at an orchard, her house was looked very beautiful especially in spring. I’d like to go to aunt Zhuze’s house to kill time in my childhood.
 
Right now, as a peddler, aunt Zhuze has moved to the other location near the traffic doing some small business there.
 
 
 
017. THE OLD MAN UP THE EMBANKMENT
 
In a touch of smoke, an old man was cooking in a tent at the foot of the embankment in backlight, which was the amazed photo I was looking for. 
 
When I went toward to the old man, he was so scared that he ran away immediately.  I found that the old man was a tramp and said sorry for my disturbing and gave him some small money for compensation. 
 
At such circumstance, I felt much guilty and shamed to photograph a poor old man like that.
 
A few days later when I returned the site, the old man had been found left away and his tent disappeared.
 
 
 
 
 
018. BAMBOO CARPENTER
 
The old man, Qin is a skilled bamboo carpenter with his lifetime experience and runs a workshop near Yuetai. He always shows off that no work couldn’t he do in the bamboo Industry.
 
By his small business, he has supported a family of four,his wife, daughter in law and granddaughter after his son left for the south.
 
 
 
 019. THE WALLED HOUSE
 
 
 
It was always foggy in winter in Hunan,year after year.
 
But you could enjoy the misty of the nature that was covered by the fog, developing your poetic imagination. 
 
You might have a fine photo taken when God bless you, but you were not being yourself at the moment.
 
 
 
020. GRANDPA & MILL
 
The mill in the photo used to be a key classical apparatus for grinding gain in my hometown.  In the past, using the mill, the villagers could make wheat or rice noodles for their livelihood, and homemade cookies, cakes or sweets in holiday seasons, especially Chinese New Year festival.
 
 
 
It was a skilled work to run a mill. Despite the grind was not working so hard, but tricky and you had to control your body technically.
 
 
 
Currently, villagers wouldn’t like to use such primitive tolls and nobody collect such relics, so that Laosi had tried his best to get this pair for my photographing.
 
Viewed from aestheic, the primitive farming tools are looked simpler, neater and more practical than the modern sculptures that are full of affectation.
 
 
 
Aanway, my generation have bidded farewell to the farming civilization and the hand-era. With the progress of the modernization , more and more of the  traditional culture will be lost forever.
 
The classical mills will no longer be found even in my village in near furture!
 
 
 
 
 
021. TRICYCLE RIDER ON YUETAI
 
Crossing Yuxianlou lane, it is Yuetai (platform), which used to be the east gate of the ancient walled Lizhou city.
 
Down to the east from the spot in the photo, walking a hundred meters, I can get the house of Huawei , who is my close friend and living at west end of the Duoan Bridge, which is an ancient one with a few hundred years. 
 
It is said that there were some pavilions on the bridge in the past, where people used to go to a full moon to write poems, and also were the places for young lovers to date. 
 
Unfortunately all those old stories have been past many years and no more pavilions could people see on the bridge. 
 
From Hua’s back yard, I could enjoy the whole view of the bridge and the moat, Lanjiang.River.
 
 
 
Hua ’s grandpa was a successful businessman before 1949 and Hua would have been a rich kid without worry about the money if he had been born at that time, but his dream was broken by the nationalization after his birth.  Born in the new China, nevertheless, with his family heritage, Hua has been a distinguished and admirable art dealer in Beijing,having a talent for calligraphy and seal carving. 
 
I love his artistic works very much.
 
 
 
022. BARBER
 
Uncle Yuanjiu, my neighbor, was a kid leader and sly dog in my childhood. He always organized some activities for us, hiding and seeking, going to movies, seeing shadow puppets and even stealing pets. 
 
Uncle Yuanjiu was a grandpa right now. Whether he still stole pets I teased him when enjoying a dinner with him in his home a few months ago. He just asked me to shut up and laughed. 
 
 
 
Since married a virtuous wife, aunt Guangqiong,uncle Yuanjiu has been repented and started anew, being a family man as a barber till now.
 
 
 
023.THE GRANNY DOWN THE STEPS
 
Located at the north bank of Li River, Jinshi used to be a known business harbor in the southwest China, specially for salt trading business in the old time, where merchants gathered and brothels stood. 
 
Impacted by the modern transports,  Jinshi has been fading due to atrophy of the inland waterways, but vaguely found some old-fashioned. 
 
 
 
It used to be a big city in my mind when I was a child. But currently what I’ve never forgotten in Jinshi is just a very delicious steamed dumpling in Wangjianglou Restaurant. ( River-view Restaurant ) 
 
The old lady down steps made me remember my granny, who was born in Baiyangdi near Jinshi, where there was a prison surrounded by the water.
 
 
 
024.THE TEACHER
 
In my teens, I had several teachers treat me very well.
 
The calligraphy hanged in my reading room was done by Mr.Quan Gongdao,  whose poems, books, paintings and seal carvings were clean, bold and simple, similar to the works of Wu Changshou, a renowned painter and seal-carving artist in late Qing Danasity in China.
 
Mr.Quan had a miserable life in his later years, selling paintings in the street. He would have had a no coffin burial without being taken care by Mr.Zhao Yunqing and Mr.Gong Daoan.
 
Regardless of anything except of his art, Mr.Quan was a bit fool in the eyes of the others, but I did respect him.
 
 
 
Mr.Quan specialized his beautiful handwriting classically, which was unmatchable to anybody, and focused on calligraphy, not shaping,so that he was not known in the field.
 
I had collected Mr.Quan’s several pieces of work given by Mr.Zhao Yunqing when I worked in the Guangdong.  Mr.Zhao treated me like a father and we were both good friends.
 
 
 
025.A SEALED FAMILY PORTRAIT 
 
For 28 years, this photo had been sealed and found last year. Taken by my uncle, it was the only family portrait without outsiders. 
 
It is unbelievable to see this portrait that my father was 36 but it seems to look significantly older.  Father passed away unexpectedly only after five
 
years of this portrait taken. 
 
I’ve always been thinking that this portrait would be done just for him. 
 
 
 
028.TINKER
 
It was a miracle to find the tinker in Chexi, who was rare in the current days.
Being a Korean War veteran, but the old man had no experience in the battleground. The veteran looked like strong even in his 80s by showing Kongfu martial art.  
 
The old man didn’t have his “ prop ”, a tinkler or “Laojinjie” called professionally in Chinese, which was made of pieces of copper to make sound of rhythm so that the villagers knew the tinker’s coming. 
 
One day, I was disappointedly told that the last smithy in the town was closed in a text message from my buddy, Wang Laowu. 
 
“ Oh, My God! ’’   I couldn’t help but shouted. 
 
No smithy, No carpenter’s, No Bamboo carpenter’s, No waterwheel, No classical plow, No palm-coat and home made shoes … 
 
Anyway, I am a lucky guy who had experienced all those mentioned above.
 
  
 
027. THE WOK IN WEEDS  
 
There were a lot of weeds behind the pigsty of our hereditary house, where there was a bamboo grove when my father was alive.  
 
In the bamboo grove, I still remember, it would be a relaxed time in summer to enjoy the breeze, lying down on the ground after farming work. 
 
Sometimes you might confront with some trimeresuruses wrapping around the bamboo, who were vipers with their skin color matching to bamboo. It was very hard to identify such snakes in the bamboo grove.
 
One day, my brother found a snake and bothered it by a steak. And the snake flew away and disappeared immediately without a trace in the forest after disturbed.
 
 
 
Today, all of us have moved to the towns or cities, left the old house vacant and standing still.      
 
 
 
028.THE SHADOW PUPPETS 
 
Only one time I saw the shadow puppets in my childhood. It is unforgettable that my sisters and I walked to Jinhe village in a dark evening with Uncle Yuanjiu, my god-grandma’s son to see the shadow puppets.
 
 
 
On the way, Uncle Yuanjiu took care of us and drove the barking dogs away by squatting when the animals attached us in the darkness,which was a good tactics. 
 
Just like a drive-in theatre, it was open and a sea of people crowded so that nothing puppets we could see.  We had to go around to the back of the theatre, looking in through the lifted curtains. It was so excited that the puppets had been performing vividly while the band playing with gongs and the other fork instruments. Just like opera, many signers had been signing emotionally, the old man in broken voice combined with the young girls sharp tone.
 
I had got nothing understood till the show ended at last.
 
 
 
With the help from my classmate Chaoyang, I found the last Shadow puppet troupe remained currently in Lixian. Owned by Xian Zhuqing,his wife and sister in law ran the show.
 
I was told that ‘the Shadow Puppet’ had been pushing to apply for Intangible Cultural Heritage, which I didn’t think possible, for it had been disappearing by day. 
 
 
029. CARTER IN TENTS STREET 
 
On the left of this street, located the workshop of my buddies Chunlin and Wanglaowu. It was called Tents Street where there was the examination site for the civilian in ancient time. 
 
 
 
The street was torn down before Lunar New Year’s Festival,a few pieces of housing pillar still stood there in chilly wind.  
 
I found a few antiques, two pieces of brick, a few pieces of porcelain from Ming and Qing Dynasty, which are being collected in my reading room. 
 
 
 
030.TEENAGER CARRYING FISHING TRAPS  
 
Currently, kids living in the urban area hardly know the function of those baskets. Even they know the baskets to fish, but they definitely don’t know what kind of fish can be trapped.  
 
The mini fishing basket is called “ Langmuhao” in dialect, “Lanmu”,
 
a common tiny fresh water fish near the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, “ hao” meaning “ trap”.  Kids in the villagers usually set the “hao” in stream in the morning, and harvested in a few hours, covering up with some aquatic weeds, to prevent others from pilfering. 
 
The entrance of “Langmuhao” was designed as one-way with bamboo thorns so that the fish could only go in, not out.  A variety of basket traps the villagers designed in the past, one of which, to task eel. Sometimes, the snakes might be trapped instead of eels.  
 
When harvested, the kids went to the market selling ells for pocket money, while cooked the tiny fishes for their school lunch. 
 
 
 
031. OLD MAN WITH HIS DOG
 
At the foot of the Yanshan Mountain (Smoking Mountain)
 
 
 
032. CARPENTER SU 
 
As an apprentice, Su started his carpentry from 13 and right now is 67, done his lifetime to the career. His children left hometown to the south, earning a big money, having a better life, but Su is still keep doing his carpentry instead of reunion with his kids.
 
At the first, I was impressed by his workbench, which would be admired by the peers in the world. The owner, I thought, should be an outstanding guy. 
 
 
033.THE DEAD BODY OF A BABY PIG ON THE BEACH  
 
In my hometown, traditionally villagers would like to down pour the dead body of a baby pig into river, so people called it “ jiangzhu”, meaning “ river pig”,  
 
For my view, people called it “jiangzhu” because “ stiff ” and “river” in Chinese pronounce the same, meaning “zombie of baby pig”.  
 
 
 
In my childhood, the elders in my village told me a lot of stories on  “jiangzhu”, even “jiangzhu ” was cooked by the starved people in the famine long time ago.    
 
 
 
034. THE FORTUNE TELLER 
 
Returned to my village a few days ago, I met the fortune-teller, Yaoshu, a courtesy title to the elders in the village, meaning youngest uncle. Yaoshu was told to be joyful and smiling all days since living with a widow as a partner. 
 
In spite of his blindness, Yaoshu could realized my presence by ears, saying “Laosan is back home!”, even though we had not met each other for a while. Whenever I heard his greeting, I was so appreciated and paid deeply respectable to him in my mind, for he just heard that I had been growing up. 
 
 
 
When I was a child, Yaoshu often sat in front of my mother’s grocery store, doing his business by telling fortune. Sometime I was puzzled by his ability to identify money by touching, and even told my mother my interest to learn from him, which was impolite to the blind and a bad luck for the kids in the village and eventually I was scolded by my mother. 
 
Yaoshu was a pock (mazi in Chinese). He would always look like losing tamper if someone mentioned “mama yu” (drizzling) in front of him, because “ mama  ” and “ mazi ” (pock) pronounce the same ‘ma’ in Chinese.  
 
 “ It is just raining, isn’t that? ” “Don’t curse me , please !” 
 
When someone bought “mahau”, a very common fried dough twist in China    in my mother’s store, Yaoshu might say in a pessimistic tone: 
 
“ O, my God, just eat a “Mahua”, you want to kill me! ” 
 
Both blind and pock, Yaoshu was still a joyful and nice guy who always made the villagers happy by kidding himself. 
 
One day, I asked Yaoshu tell me a fortune when he was chatting with my father, sitting by the fire warming himself in my house.
 
I was told in a fortune-telling balloting:
A piece of “ shoe “in the left hand,
 
A piece of “ shoe “in the right hand,
 
Shoe still shoe! 
 
 (In Hunan dialect, “shoe” and “still” pronounce the same as “hai” ) 
 
Looking back, I have to praise what Yaoshu predicted many years ago, for I still look like nothing achieved in my 40s. 
 
Maybe, I am still cursed by the piece of balloting from Yaoshu, which is unthinkable and unbelievable! 
 
God gives the blind man darkness while offers him unimaginable wisdom.  
 
Darkness is just brightness for the blind philosophically. 
 
What you can see is material, otherwise it is the role of God.
 
 
 
035. THE MOONLIGHTING FOREST
 
Again we were going down to Linan, the south part of Lixian.
 
 
 
036. GUANGQING CARRYING A FORK
 
Guangqing was a classmate of my sister, while I stayed the same classroom with her brother Wumao. Guangqing was the fourth one in the family, who has three elder sisters and a son of Fudie (Grandpa Tiger). 
 
Fudie had had two daughters, before his wife gave the birth of the third.
 
 
 
For a long time, Fudie had been longing for a son, a future workforce in the family, and waiting for the third coming. He was very excited by the new born when he heard the news while farming, but greatly frustrated when he found the third girl coming at home. 
 
The first and second were girls, 
 
So was the third!
 
Even disappointed, Fudie had still been trying and finally had a boy Guangqing, the man in the photo。
 
Followed another boy. The fifth used to be my classmate in the elementary and currently a taxi driver in Changde, a big city nearby. 
 
The sixth still was boy too, who is working in the south city, Shenzheng near Hongkong right now.
 
Fudie has been happy since his first son Guangqing was born, and contributed hospitality to his wife, who has been elated since.
 
(In the dialect of my hometown, married young woman were called “guniang” (wife) and young man “nanzihang” (husband). And they may be changed after the middle-aged, “laomazi” (wife) and “laoguanzi” (husband).  Currently, call laogong and laopo to follow the fashion.
 
 
 
037. PEOPLE WALKING ON THE LEFT BANK OF THE LI RIVER
 
Ganjiawan  (Gan family’s bay), where Li River converges with the Dongting Lake, looks so beautiful because of its water, birds, reeds and open land.
 
 
 
This was my third visit there. 
 
The first time I was with Mr.Zhao Yunqing.  
 
Climbing a10-meter-high flyover, Mr. Zhao looked like very astute and flexible even in his old-aged. He would be a naughty boy in his teens. 
 
With Chunlin I did  in my next two visits. Ganjiawan was so beautiful that I could hardly spot a best one in photographing. 
 
Anyway I took this one that I loved, while Chunlin did his favorite one  “ the Forest “, which was vividly winding under the dark cloud. 
 
 
 
038. NEAR VIEW OF THE LAKE BEACH COVERED WITH STONES  
 
Boarded in the ship in the Miluo River, I was carefully pondering this water, remembering the renowned ancient patriotic poet, Quyuan, who committed suicide by putting himself into this water in order to patriotic more than 2000years ago, and felt the misty fog more and more concentrated.  
 
At the moment, I thought of Quyan’s famous motto: 
 
“ The longer the road ahead of us,
 
The more challenge we face.
 
To explore the truth,
 
We should endeavor or sacrifice.”
 
 
 
039.SOUNA PLAYING
 
( Souna , a Chinese fork instrument, similar to clarinet )
 
Many years ago, when I passed by Shunlinyi, I met a team of mourners.
 
The village band was plying  “ Go ahead my girl, and never return! ” , which was the theme music of the film < Red Sorghum > directed by Zhangyimu, a renowned Chinese film director in 1980s. 
 
It was so funny that I couldn’t help but laugh, because the dead is an old woman. What a humorous country band!
 
 
 
040.THE MAN IN QINGMING FESTIVAL
 
(Qingming Festival - Chinese memory day)
 
In the Qingming Festival, Chunlin and I went to Yanshan Mountain again, photographing the middle–aged man crossing the ditch. On his way to cherish the memories of his dead predecessors in Xinzhou, the man still had several of kilometers to walk. 
 
Xinzhou, a town by the Li River, is located at the southeast of the Yanshan Mountain, where I went twice in my childhood.
 
 
 
041. A CLOSE-UP OF THE GIRL IN THE TROUPE
 
Facing this girl in the troupe, naturally I had a teenager romance popped out in my mind.  She was my uncle’s goddaughter, a year younger than me. She was a beautiful girl with tender skin and good looking. That was what I imaged in my teens. 
 
 
 
The girl lived in my grandma’s neighborhood, I loved the girl and often sneaked into her house plying with her when I visited my grandparent.
 
I felt very happy to stay with her at the moment when I wrapped wool for her while she was knitting, and always was reluctant to leave at later night.    
 
 
 
Sometimes, when I was complained to being home too later by my grandma, I might replied her joyfully with my head up, 
 
“ I am just back from my wife ”  
 
 I loved her because she was a fairy in my mind. 
 
Coming another summer in my middle school, I visited my grandma and was told that the girl had left the village to learn drama. I was so sad to hear that maybe I would never meet her again.  
 
I had a big fever that night. Grandma said that I had been missing the girl too hard to keep the normal mentally.  
 
Even many years past, I was still teased by grandma for this romance. 
 
Twenty years later, I met the girl in my brother’s clinic. With a faint voice, she called me by my nickname while she was lying on a clinic bed to infuse saline.  Hardly could we both recognize each other due to separate for too long. She was still pretty and I had to praise myself for the version of my youth. 
 
Years later, I was told that she was married to a gambler, who treated her violently. “The girl is miss look but maidservant life ” Aunt Peng, an neighbor said. She left for Taiyuan, a big city in the far northern China after our meeting at the clinic. 
 
She had called my mother “ ma” for a long time before mother told me.
 
I called her “Xiaomeimei”, meaning “ young sister Mei ”.
 
  
 
042. WALKING LONELY IN THE FOG
 
 
 
043.THE CLAM FAIRY
 
Chinese old saying:“ Kids look for lunar New Year festival while parents expect harvesting. ”
 
Just like celebrating Christmas Day in the other part of the world, the kids needn’t go to school in the Chinese New Year festival, and can enjoy family dinner parties with many delicious foods, joined a dragon dancing or go to the folk shows.  
 
In my childhood, I always suspend my meals and rushed out to follow the country band, walking on the rough mountain roads tirelessly from village to village, as soon as I heard the enigmatical singing with the sound of gongs and drums from far away.
 
There she is a clam fairy!
 
 
 
044.THE BANK COVERED WITH GRAPEFRUITS
 
The photo of the bank covered with grapefruits was taken in Mmeijiagang, a village near Jinshi.
 
Grapefruit is a very popular fruit in the South China. But these were special ones fallen down from the trees planted by Mr. Tien Peiyuan, my enlightened teacher of arts in my teens.  
 
Known locally, Tien, as an artistic worker in a cinema, had a talent for poetry, painting, playing music, singing and everything. 
 
Tien left for Sichuan when the cinema was out of business. Later I was told by Mr.Gong that Tien was dead in Sichuan, killed in a KTV for girl’s affairs.
 
Tien was good guy with talent but a girl lover in my mind. It was hard for him to work in the entertainment venues without trouble, but I don’t think that it was worth killing himself.
 
Tien felled off girl’s feet and became a ghost just in his 40s!
 
  
 
045. TOMBSTONE IN THE FOREST 
 
Silently and lonely
 
A tombstone
 
Stands in the forest
 
Under “the flying cloud pagoda”
 
 
 
046.THREE TROUPE PLAYERS IN BAMBOO HORSES
 
(Bamboo horse is a costume for some Chinese fork drama)
 
They look like being both in the battlefield and the drama.
 
 
 
047. SNOW, TREES, PAVILION
 
 
 
048. PIER IN THE SNOWING STORM
 

The Dreamed Stream 2

 

001 The house of my ancestors

When my grandpa, who was a very skillful man, died my uncle told me that a week before he passed, he had eaten a seven pound carp all by himself. When he got home he fell sick. According to legend this fish was a spirit of which he died.

The mother of my father remarried when he was very young. He then grew up at a second cousin from his grandfather´s side. This “grandpa” was blind. This foster grandfather and he therefore both depended on each other. After I was born the grandpa died.

 

002 Wooden Plow

This plow was lying in the east wing of the house. My father used it when he was still alive. I also learned how to use it when I was a child, but before I got the hang of it I stopped and studied art.

This small box belonged to the father of my mother. The threads for making fishing nets were put in there.

 003 (Ladder)

The first time I saw this ladder I was very young. The lowest step is enhanced by an iron wire. The arc of the step is the result of generations taking a step on it.  Today I keep it in the storage room, because I don´t dare to use it again.

 

004 (The mill)

This old mill was passed on by my ancestors. When I was a child I often used to climb on it. Sometimes I helped my father with the mill, other times we played hide and seek behind it. Every household had one. The function of this mill is the separation of the rice grain and the shell.

 

005 (The blue-grass jar)

When my mother´s father came to live with us, he brought this green-glazed jar with all his other stuff. The ancestor of my grandmother, were wealthy people. Common people would not have possessed such a beautiful jar.

Today I grow water lilies in it.

 

006 (Bundle of cotton-hay)

The old house has been empty for over twenty years now. Over a dozen tangerine trees a planted in the front. The old Yuan is taking care of the 1.3 square kilometers of farmland behind our house. He put this bundle of cotton-hay in the middle of the central hall.

 

007 (Canopy with five-pointed stars)

My parent´s canopy has a print with three five-pointed stars in the middle of a diamond shape. This bed has been there since I can remember. I am positive that this is a product of Cultural Revolution. A time when everyone adored Mao Zedong.

One day, we were all working in the fields, my mother came crying telling us the sad news. Chairman Mao had died. At this time I didn´t really understand what had happened. I still believe that the tears of my mother were real that day.

 

 

008 (Canopy-bed)

At the time my parents got married they didn´t own a decent bed. They made this canopy-bed years after they got married.

Later my mother´s father had a stroke and stayed in this bed for his last years. I saw before my own eyes how this strong man collapsed. It was horrifying for my grandfather.

 

009 Table

Our ancestors left us this table. The four table-legs are worn.

It has been with me all my life and I use it as a couch-table now.  I feel a strong connection to this table. How it is so straight and in a way just perfect.

 

010 Thermos-flask

Thermos flask with spider-web bound net around it. I used it when I was a child.

 

011 Chair in the corner

I cannot extricate myself from any corner in my ancestor´s house. Every time I come back I have to visit it several times. I know that it awaits me peacefully and that we look at each other. There is no need to speak.

 

012 Two wooden benches

My mother´s father left two wooden benches. They are covered with dust. Every time I see them I think of my two beloved ones. I think of how they are buried under the tangerine tree, where I can visit them every day.

 

013 Old wooden box

This old wooden box was passed on by my mother´s mother. It has classical bronze decorations. Someone already took the lock. In former times a box like this was a must-have. When the young girls married they got a box like this for the dowry, where all their precious things were kept.

When I was a child I used this certain box as a table for painting. It is a pity that I wasted so much time on it. The time is wasted because my dream never came true. But I know that painting has been a passion since I was a child.

 

014 Chinese toon

When I was a child and we were still living in clay brick house I remember clearly how there was a row of Chinese toons planted in front of our house.

After I finished building my new house I also planted a few Chinese toons in the front as a memory. My neighbors don´t understand the reason behind it.  But I know even if I would tell them and they would listen, they wouldn´t understand.

 

015 Winter pumpkin

 

When I was a child our entire courtyard was full of winter pumpkins. The big ones were just as big as myself. After the harvest winter pumpkins and the so-called northern pumpkins where all piled up inside.

If I am speaking of northern pumpkins (beigua), what do I mean by that? What we call northern pumpkin in our region is called southern pumpkin (nangua) elsewhere.

One time my oldest brother wanted to help my mother carry a big bowl of pumpkin soup to the public square. At that time in the summer it was common to eat outside. When he wanted to put down the bowl, he dropped it and it broke. As a result our family didn´t have anything to eat but rice. Of course he got some slaps for that.

 

016 Artemisia

At the time of the Dragon Boat festival every household hangs a bundle of Artemisia at their door. In Chinese Medicine the leaves are used to purify. It can stop bleeding or disinfect. When I had a stomachache as a child my mom used to give me some tea out of Artemisia leaves.  When your body itches, you can use an Artemisia brew and take a shower with it. When the umbilical cord of my little boy became inflamed, my sister in law put the ashes of burned Artemisia on it. And after two days it was indeed heeled.

 

017 Bundle of straw

After the rice is harvested and the rice straw is dry, they put it in a bundle and use it as firewood.

In the past rice straw was further a very important material for the houses. They used it for the thatched roofs. Since it doesn´t last very long, it had to be renewed every year.

 

018 Cotton plant

I love cotton plants in the winter. Its dark brown color and how it stands against the wind in the open country has certain vigor of style to it.

 

019 Lima bean branch

Last year my mother grew huge Lima beans. I asked her why she grew them and she answered that once there was a collective distributing the food. After the production it still took three days until they distributed the food, but the rice at home only served to make a rice soup for us three kids. Consequently she ate lima beans three days in a row until the food was finally distributed. When I asked her why she didn´t go to the neighbors to borrow some food, she replied that at this time you ate to survive and it wasn´t the time where you could borrow things.

 

020 Boxthorn

The boxthorn was planted around our entire compound. Of course it didn´t protect us from thieves, but it is perfect to protect the vegetables in the garden from chicken coming in and picking on them. There are different kinds of boxthorn, but they all have the same purpose.

 

021 Sweet potato

Here we don´t call it the red potato (hongshu), or the pumpkin from the earth (digua), but we call it the river-potato (jiangshu). When I was a child I often stole sweet potatoes from the public farmland.

I stole the sweet potatoes, wiped the dirt off with my clothes, and ate them. I got chased quite often, which was embarrassing. One time I ate so many that I got a stomachache and had to go to the hospital. Since that time I cannot eat sweet potatoes anymore. It has been already more than thirty years.

 

022 Bamboo shoots

When my father was still alive, we had a bamboo forest behind our courtyard. There was a whole bunch and they were oh so beautiful. At the time of the Cultural Revolution they were cut down to punish the followers of capitalism. Today I again grow some bamboo in my backyard. Maybe in a few years it will become a forest.

 

023 Big garlic bulbs

The garlic bulbs of my mother.

 

024 Mirror

My mother used this mirror for about 40 years. During these years she experienced so much. It was with her from when she was a young girl until she became an old woman. She became a widow at the age of 41. With great difficulty she managed to have a small selling business. She had to endure a lot of mockery. But when my brothers and I had to have surgery twice and when we needed money when we first got the city, she stayed strong and provided for us.  This was really not an easy task.

 

025 Cotton-padded shoes

When I was a teenager, my mother made these shoes for me. Unexpectedly they are still here. When I saw them for the first time after over twenty years I was really touched. Today I still keep them and wear them once a year.

 

26 The Learning bench

After I had returned home, this bench caught up with me. When I was young I used to sit in the middle of the bench and was leaning over to write my homework on top of it. So my mother gave this bench the beautiful name "learning bench". From then on me and my sisters and brothers called it the learning bench.

 

027 Washing bat

In a time where they still didn´t have a washing board, they used to beat the clothes with this washing bat. After all this time the lower tip of the bat is shiny like Jade and really smooth.

 

028 Kerosene lamp

At a time when there was so electricity, we used a kerosene lamp as a light. My brothers and I often used one kerosene lamp to do our homework. After a few hours your nostrils would be black of the ash. I was really hard to study seriously. After a short while I would feel really sleepy, but then my older brother would give me a slap.

 

029 Shoe basket

In the past women used excellent needlework to make shoes. It is hardly possible to find craftsmanship like this today.

 

030 Ghost repellent

This is how we call the hook to hang up ham. In the winter when we smoke ham, we hang it up. At the same time we can cook water. The height of the "ghost repellent" is adjustable, which makes it to very useable.

 

031 One liter pot

This is a measuring instrument. The four characters for "fair" and "trade" are carved in it. My grandmother left this for us.

 

032 Shoulder pole for carrying large bamboo baskets

This wooden shoulder pole is beautifully made out of pear-wood. When I was a child we had a beautiful pear-tree in front of our house. My father cut it down to make two shoulder poles. This made my heart bleed.

When I was around thirteen, I had to bring the harvested grain home using two large bamboo baskets. It was exhausting, but this time also made me strong.

 

033 Thresh shuffle

With this shuffle you lift the rice and throw it in the air. The rice grains will fall back on the ground, while the wind will blow away the empty shells.

Old Da Mei used this shuffle all his life. Old Da Mei was a really kind person.

 

034 Double Happiness-Jar

In former times every household had a jar with the character "double happiness" like this one. Even though the quality of the soil and the glaze of the ceramics made by the peasants are not really good, it cannot obstruct its precise decoration.

We used put things like cookies in the jar. It used to have a lid, but these are difficult to preserve.

 

035 Playpen

One to two year old kids sit in a playpen like this. The kids play by themselves when they sit inside. They can move around in the chair, which gives the young toddlers their first freedom and parents the freedom to take care of other tasks.

 

036 Tiles

The house of my ancestors hasn’t been restored for many years. Already for a long time it cannot stand the rain and wind. When we demolished it, I collected some of the roof’s tiles as a kind of memento

We call these kinds of tiles “zi-tiles”. (I am not certain if zi-tiles is the correct word or not). The tiles are a product of simple handwork. It is the same as pottery. You mix the mortar and make it into a cylindrical shape. Then you cut the one cylinder in three pieces and let them air-dry. In the end you fire it.

When I was a child I once took part in the process. It is really hard work. Since I have never seen the entire process it is impossible to describe it clearly.

 

037 Clay brick

The process of making clay bricks is quite easy. A bull pulls a stone over the rice fields and applies pressure to the soil. Then you have to cut pieces into the soil and cut them out. Last you pile them up against the wall and leave them to air-dry. Clay brick walls keep the room warm during the winter und warm in the summer, but they don’t last long. They were pretty common, when I was young, but today you don’t see them often.

 

038 Pig trough

When my dad was still alive, I saw this half of a pig trough. At this time our family was still really poor and just made it through.

When I was a child and I came home after school had finished, I had to collect grass at dawn, clean it, and feed it to the pigs. This was my daily assignment. For kids in the country this is normal. If you don’t herd the cattle you have to collect food for the pigs. From the fattened pig, we didn’t eat more than two servings, the rest was sold.

 

039 Stone rammer

In ancient times stone rammers already exist, but it probably was most common during the Great Leap Forward. I still remember when I was a child every household had someone who had to go out and work. I was chosen once in the winter. I ate and slept on the construction side. When we went to the pits, I saw a dike, which end I couldn’t make out. This dike was made from on the shoulders of people into what it is today. That is very hard to believe.

Four people had to lift this rammer. They’d lift it up and put it down, lift it up again and so on. Its function was to tamp layer and layer of earth. During that it was popular to sing the enthusiastic "rammer’s song".

 

040 Stone with a square-shaped hole

Once when I visited a friend in Yang Jian Fang, I saw this cobblestone in the field of one of the villagers. In the middle was a square-shaped hole. Unbelievably beautiful! It was left there, not to be used anymore. This stone most definitely was the base for a post in former times.

 

041 Qiang /Mast

I have no idea what the formal name for this utensil is. Here we just call it "qiang mast" (This word might not be the correct one. In my dialect I cannot find a more suitable word). Its function is to get rid of the weeds in the paddy fields. It is used to make the fields neat and even. The purpose is making bigger clay pieces into smaller ones.

 

042 Drying rake

There are actually a lot of different kinds of rakes. This wooden rake is to dry the paddy in the sun. You use it to spread out the paddy. Then you use the teeth of the rake to distribute them into streaks.  In this way the wind will dry it faster. There is also a rake for pine needles and for the crumbs of the rice straw. These kind of rake are made of bamboo and very exquisite.

 

043 Threshing rice wheel

The threshing rice wheel. The threshing rice machine is used to thresh the rice. In former times the threshing of the rice depended as a whole on the manpower to turn it. When they turned it the wind would blow through. The wooden parts at both ends are hollow. The threshing rice process is obviously a two-man job.

In this kind of life you had to work often as a child. In the time of planting and harvesting, no child could avoid it.

 

044 Shoulder pole

This shoulder pole is used to collect firewood, one bundle on each side. All the strength comes from this one pole it was called “Zhong” pole. The style is very simple, but is gives you a feeling of strength.

 

045 Rooster-cart

The name of the so-called rooster-cart originates probably from its shape. This cart has been produced according to an ancient method. Even though it is already decaying, its vigor of style still exists. The rooster design with its two wheels is extremely logical. If you pass a small trench, the small wheel passes first. Then you lift the cart with your hands and the bigger second one follows without any further trouble. You don’t need any strength. A "rooster-cart" with its centuries-proofed production can hardly be found anywhere today.

In former times when the agricultural tax was still being paid with grain, my father used the "rooster-cart" to bring the rice to the 10 kilometers away YuanJia Gang. There were thousands of people. And the inspectors were quite sly. If they would accept it or not, was totally depending on their mood.

 

046 Tongs

When I was little I used these tongs to pick the rice. I picked them one by one. It was important to keep the rhythm otherwise a very light load could tire you out a lot.

 

047 Chicken incubator

This bamboo chicken cage was especially used for baby-chicken. It keeps the weasel away from the ones that have just hatched. This chicken cage has another very important function. It is also a fish trap.

 

048 Fumigated compost

After the weeds have dried in the sun, they are piled up in a rectangular form. On top of it you put one layer of fragmented soil. Then you light it up and let it slowly fumigate until it becomes a first-class fertilizer.

If during the fertilizer process you throw a sweet potato on top, you will have a baked sweet potato after a stroll around the house. It has the perfect temperature and texture and smells so nice! This makes you so happy.

 

049 Decomposing wood

I found this piece of decaying wood at huge dock. It wouldn’t be possible to carve wood like this, but it has its own kind of beauty.

 

050 The disappearing door

Wei Bi, April 2013, Mengxi, village of Lianhu, ShiJiaTai.