Saturday, January 30, 2016

Great Wall of China


Its basic structure is some 6,000 kilometers, not including the branch fortifications connected to it.

Across the centuries these defenses had to be repaired and rebuilt or extended many times to protect China from its Northern invaders.


This photo was released into public domain by Albert Hazan aka Ahazan at http://publicdomainclip-art.blogspot.com/2007/09/great-wall-of-china.html

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The wall was built of the stone and earth surrounding it. More than a million men may have died in its construction.



The large version of this photo by Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) is in public domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greatwall_large.jpg

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It took the West unbelievably long to find out that China existed. They did buy silk from China, and so you’d assume they would have tried to find out where that silk came from, but they didn’t.

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Marco Polo’s expedition on horseback with camels to carry supplies.
Drawing in  public domain according to Ludo29 and  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Caravane_Marco_Polo.jpg


It was a complete surprise when about 700 years ago  Marco Polo arrived in China and visited the famous Kublai Khan. And you may have read about the surprise that hit the world when Nixon all of a sudden one day arrived in China as a visitor -- according to legend after a secret trip and without escort.




This was just about the time when the Americans also reached the Moon:



and Nixon talked to the quarantined astronauts.

By that time, all of China had  become the source of poetic fiction:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
a stately pleasure-dome decree…



According to The Guardian, this is Kubla Khan hunting.

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Kafka wrote a story called The Great Wall of China and saw in its construction a Kafkaesque effort, most painful, laborious, and never meant to reach any end.

Quote a typical Kafka:
In fact, not only can such a wall not protect, but the structure itself is in constant danger.

Buried in the story of the wall’s construction is the greatest, most explicit of Kafka’s short parables translated from German by Ian Johnston:

The Emperor’s message:



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Andersen wrote  The Nightingale whose song at the Imperial Court was found inferior to the jingle of a clockwork bird. It is in English at http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheNightingale_e.html

This is Andersen's description of the Emperor's palace:



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Yet the European Powers of little more than 100 years ago imagined they could divide up China among themselves:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/China_imperialism_cartoon.jpg/220px-China_imperialism_cartoon.jpg -- There was no copyright information

The pie is being divided. The participants are:

-- Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
-- William II of Germany
-- Nicholas II of Russia
-- the French Marianne
-- the Emperor of Japan

They are all carefully contemplating which pieces to take. —

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And here is again Kafka. He says that the Chinese Wall would turn out to be the foundation of a new Tower of Babel:




Painting by Brueghel the Younger from http://socks-studio.com/2013/07/09/confusion-of-tongues-the-construction-of-the-tower-of-babel/

The translation is from https://records.viu.ca/~Johnstoi/kafka/greatwallofchina.htm


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The Asia map by “historicair” is published in public domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Asia

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The manuscript below is about Chinese sailors who had traveled to the Middle East and took home a giraffe as a souvenir to give to their Emperor:




:) 

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Chinesische Mauer by Bjoern Kriewald in public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chinesische-mauer.jpg

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Grandpa is teaching the kid how to fish.

For  photos such as these see a traveler’s blog at http://pixelpx.com/2012/07/10/china-trip-day-4/

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