#176 theoldmortuary ponders

School Holidays in a museum have an energy and a sense of jeopardy that term times do not have. Children are always present but in term times they are mostly there in large groups with professional child wranglers, their teachers. School holidays brings smaller bespoke groups headed up by adults who are also in the museum to have a good time. The pictures above and below are of exquisite Korean Quilts.

As adults we dont even need to know what these panels are to appreciate them, but to three small boys, not as supervised as they should have been, they were bright bold targets that needed to be kicked as they drove imaginary footballs into the back of an equally imaginary goal. To the artist, Zadie Xa these panels represent trees.  Which is as good a way as I can think to demonstrate that art, once out in the public domain is open to interpretation.

This exhibition is titled ‘ Long ago when tigers smoked’ again not something that leaps to mind just looking at these quilts.

Zadie Xa: Long ago when tigers smoked

The links above take you to articles about the exhibition. I am charmed by the expression ‘ Long ago when tigers smoked’ is the Korean way of saying ‘ Once upon a time’ or ‘Back in the day”

Researching the saying suggests there are a few explanations for this saying , some mythical and some  historical. My take,for what it is worth is this. In Korean Folklore there was a time when animals and humans had equal status in the  world. Tobacco was introduced into Korea in the 17th century, at the time it was so cheap absolutely anyone could afford to smoke. By mixing these two schools of thought it makes it possible to consider that in long ago times when egalitarianism also include the animal kingdom, it would be entirely conceivable that Tigers would have been able to smoke. Turning the phrase ‘Long ago when Tigers smoked’ into a lovely way to suggest a historical perspective.

©Benito Major Vallejo. The Box Plymouth

From naughty boys to smoking tigers in one blog. A classic ponder.

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