Busy Last Day in Xi’an
We started the day by visiting the primary school classrooms in two groups. We introduced ourselves to the students by sharing some of our interests and then we reviewed the names of different body parts in English (head, nose, etc.) before playing the Simon Says game. The children were very good listeners and needed a number of tricks to get down to three finalists. Afterwards, the Gould students shared more of their daily life at school and in Maine using a powerpoint presentation prepared by Gould. The students were very articulate and enthusiastic as they talked about their school life.
Later this morning we visited the traditional village of Nansuo Village in Hu county. We were hosted by a famous painter, Mr. Zhang Qingyi. The style of paintings is different than traditional Chinese painting in that the murals we saw by this artist around the village use bright, bold, contrasting colors and stark lines. The murals depicted scenes from daily village life and traditional Chinese stories which teach moral lessons. This painter has been honored in the United States and has had two exhibitions in the States.
This mural above depicts more than just an ice fishing scene, something many of us in Maine can related with from life in the northeast. In this story, the boy’s mother was ill and needed food. He melted the ice with his body heat so that she could eat food and become healthy. A typical Chinese person would know this story and recognize it from the mural painting.
When we arrived, there was a sharing of traditional Chinese instruments and dance. The group performed the dragon dance that would usually be performed by at New Year’s and when there is a harvest. They danced to music made by traditional drums and cymbals. They generously gave the Gould students the opportunity to dance the dragon dance with the fabric and bamboo dragon. We also saw some of the traditional farming tools on display while we were at the artist’s studio.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch made by the artist’s family that featured local dishes and noodles that were in the style associated with this provence.
After lunch, the artist took us up to his studio where we saw more of his works and he gave us a painting lesson in the more traditional style of Chinese painting. His skill was impressive!
The day with the school ended with a basketball game with the students of Xi’an Foreign Language School. The Gould students have played a lot of basketball this week, so it was fun to close out our time in Xi’an with a fun game together.