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May 18, 2011

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Not sure whether you've seen Mizoguchi's adaptation of Yang Guifei, and not sure if you should, as it's pretty bad...

Hi Ted, it is wonderful to see you here! And, no I have never seen Mizoguchi's Yang Guifei.... have you seen Tamasburo's Yokihi? I have the links below at right in "documentary"... just beautiful, I think.

I like the way you put it, "as if they dwelled within a beautiful poem." What a lesson for everyone. Love that cannot be denied or put on any kind of shelf should be praised. Especially from an Emperor who must know the duties and responsibilities that he has inherited and yet is willing to give them up for love. I find it beautiful and reassuring, not tragic in any sense. This is a wonderful story.

The preservation of Tang dances in Japanese court also interests me very much. In fact Dr. Liu Feng-Xue (founder & artistic director of Neo-Classic Dance Company 新古典舞團, and the first Chinese dance historian/scholar/artist/choreographer to gain a PhD) devotes a large part of her career reconstructing ancient Chinese court music & dance, including getting special permission to study in the royal court of Japan and learning Labannotation from scratch to record the pieces etc. Neo-Classic is premiering Dr. Liu's new work in October, another reconstruction of ancient dance/music - I must be back in Taipei to attend!
http://www.neo.org.tw/
I love her works and have a special affection as Neo-Classic is where I learned ballet since 5! I mentioned these in a blog post 'Beauty of Tang: Dance, Music & Poetry.'
http://poeticoneirism.blogspot.com/2010/05/beauty-of-tang-music-dance-and-poetry.html
(A reader later shared this amazing artist Elyse Ashe Lord with me. Perhaps you know her already? If not you should check her out her paintings...!)

Another gem I adore, Han Tang Yuefu 漢唐樂府 (http://www.hantang.com.tw/), might also interest you - I have almost all their DVDs & CDs. Such beauty... Sigh. I can listen to the music and watch the dances all day long.

I really enjoyed reading the English translations of the Chinese poetry, and must re-read these poems one of these days (though I think Bai Juyi is 白居易, not 李白). I am a lover of Li Po - when I was a kid it was a drag having to memorise and recite all these classics, but now I realise they do stay with me in my heart (not just poetry, philosophy as well), even if one can no longer recite them! It's fascinating to know that the story of 玄宗 & 楊貴妃 might have influenced 源氏物語, as people tend to associate Tale of Genji to Dream of the Red Mansion, I suppose. I remember when I went to a special exhibition at Kyoto National Museum, I stood in front of a large screen depicting The Tale of Genji, forever. I think I was trying to absorb as much of that quiet yet glorious beauty as I possibly could. A while ago there was a small exhibition of noh masks, costumes, manuscripts etc. in Tokyo - it was magical, with quiet gagaku playing in this little space... I miss it.

And the Oedipus Complex you hinted at the end of this article... How universal and yet how different it is between the East & the West. The stories you mentioned here, and the poems, give me a sense of 無奈, 悵然若失 (I can never seem to find the right words for these in English). These are similar emotions I felt after watching one of my favourite films "In the Mood for Love." A kind of tranquil/peaceful sadness, but perhaps even more heartrending...

I also posted Tamasaburo's Yokihi in my blog post "Adieu ma concubine"! We do share such similar interests. :) I will search for his Peony Pavilion on youtube. Do you know Tamasaburo performed Peony Pavilion at the last Hong Kong Arts Festival? Shame I missed it...!! My love for kunqu is even deeper than Peking opera, and Peony Pavilion & Peach Blossom Fan are my favourite.

Just would like to say again how much I LOVE this post!

Ting-Jen xx

Wonderful! thanks for make me know Tamasaburo-Yokihi, I love it. Thanks for your enlightening web from a crazy for Asia guy. Thanks Peony, master.


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