May 8, 2009

Buddhism + Christianity = art

I studied Chinese in college and graduate school, and lived in China for a few summers before moving to Los Angeles. I am especially fascinated with the Chinese language (I studied Mandarin for 4 years in college and can still hold my own when bargaining on the streets in Chinese in San Francisco or China itself!), Chinese art, and Chinese religions, especially Buddhism. That said, I dig how Buddhists use their art as both a means of meditation and a teaching tool (ie mantra). I have tried to think of my own craft (jewelry, scrapbooking, photography, etc,) in similar terms, though in my case using the medium to both meditate on the beauty that is at our fingertips and also to praise God. While taking an art class in graduate school on the topic "visual preaching," I had to do a project on incorporating a scripture verse into a piece of art. I decided to use my Chinese painting tools to tackle the verse "Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts" (Colossians 3:15). I thought about how Buddhist monks paint a simple circle as a way of representing meditation and the circle of life and reincarnation (called zen circles). In my case, the circle would represent Christ, who, to get theological, "is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). But using a painted black circle alone wouldn't be enough, I needed to add some red (making my favorite color scheme complete!), preferably in the traditional Chinese signature form. So I put the Chinese character for peace (pronounced "ping") in the bottom right hand corner and in red to represent the heart (at least in my mind!). The scripture, and my new little piece of Chinese art, was complete. I later made several t-shirts with the Chinese translation of the verse written on the back and gave them to friends who liked the image. I also framed it and put it up in my living room (against my red, red wall with my other black and white frames and images). I was looking at the image a few weeks ago and thought to myself, "Hmmm, that looks like a bracelet." Well, here they are, the painting and the bracelet. I dig it:

6 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful explanation of how a beautiful peice came to fruition. Now I really want one, because of hearing the background story and meaning. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Oh, gorgeous... I absolutely love it, truly!

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  3. Very cool - it's neat to hear the story behind a work of art like your bracelet. Makes it more special.

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  4. Gorgeous piece and wonderful article. THANK YOU for sharing!

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  5. Now that is a neat inspirational connection between the art and the bracelet! I hope you will submit it or another for my reader gallery. Pearl

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  6. Nice blog and nice Etsy shop!
    -kathy (as in kathydkeith.etsy.com)

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