Finding Myself in China: Li Tianhua is a member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Association and a founding member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art Society. While still young, he studied under the guidance of the famous Chinese cartoonist Wan Laiming. His artistic style is pure, simple, and highly decorative. His sketches and essays have been published in some 120 magazines and journals and China Central Television has aired a short program introducing the art of Li Tianhua. He is currently enjoying fame as the "King of Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art."
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It is not often that one has the good luck to be able to entertain a prominent person in one's home, but this last Saturday past (June 10th 2006) I had just such an opportunity. A student came to my home Friday night and asked if I would go to his dormitory next morning, because a famous Chinese Artist wanted to meet the Laowai (Foreigner).
Naturally I went. Little did I know that in doing so, I would share the same experience as was had by a list of prominent people such as Mao ZeDong, Deng Xiaoping, The American President Richard Nixon, and England's own Queen Elizabeth II. The man I went to meet turned out to be Li Tianhua.
Who is Li Tianhua?
Li Tianhua is a member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Association and a founding member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art Society. While still young, he studied under the guidance of the famous Chinese cartoonist Wan Laiming. His artistic style is pure, simple, and highly decorative. His sketches and essays have been published in some 120 magazines and journals and China Central Television has aired a short program introducing the art of Li Tianhua. He is currently enjoying fame as the "King of Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art."
Li Tianhua was born in 1941 in Huang Chuan in HeNan China, and as a child, was introduced to Papercut Silhouette Art by his mother. She was his first teacher. Later, he became the student of Wan Laiming.
After graduating from Xi'An university in 1964, Master Li spent 8 years in the army (Sheng Yang). After he left the army, he worked in the YuNan Forestry department until 1985. In 1985 he returned home to work in Real Estate, which he did until his retirement in 2001. Since then, he has been travelling China trying to revive interest in this papercut Silhouette art form. (He is both a member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Association and a founding member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art Society.)
Currently 65 years old, he presents himself as a very ordinary man - a man of the people so to speak. His dress is ordinary, and his manner is neither proud nor falsely humble. He is an utterly charming person who felt very 'at home' in both the school dormitory, and my apartment.
I had arranged to go to the dormitory at 10 am, but had warned my friends that it would be best to phone me, just to make sure I was up and about. I awoke a little before 10 am, and knowing that one must expect anything in China, I knew that it was possible that despite the fact that we were meeting in the dormitory, we could end up back at my apartment. The first thing I did when I got out of bed, was to tidy up the place, wash the few dishes in the sink, and run a mop over the floor. Just as well I did.
Even though I had no idea at all who this 'famous man' was (everyone and everything is famous in China), I knew that I had better take my camera. I loaded the batteries into my camera at 10:10 am. I know this because later when we were viewing the photos on my computer, the date on the camera showed 2006 10 10. I had entered the hour and minutes instead of the month and day. What do you expect? I'm just a bendan Laowai.
When I arrived at the dorm room, I found the room contained more than the 4 students who lived there. One of them stayed asleep under the covers for the whole hour or two I was there. The whole time people kept dropping in and leaving, including one young man with a very professional looking camera.
Master Li Tianhua and I were introduced, and through our interpreter (Tong Chengchen - a former students of mine), we talked about Master Li's life and current circumstances. At the moment he is on a quest to be invited to visit and hold workshops in 500 universities. Apparently the Guiness World Book of Records people in Shanghai informed him that if he could get to 500 invitations, he would break the world record. At the moment his record stands at 315 universities in 4 years, and he carries with him many of the most famous invitations.
These invitations are official documents with the various University Seals, and included among them I noted invitations from Tsing Hua (Qing Hua), Fu Dan, Tong Ji, Shanghai, Xi'An and NanJing Universities.
As a well traveled man he has visited many places in China including amongst others, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi'An, Guang Zhou, Wuhan, Shen Yang, Chang Chun and Har'er'bin. In his desire to revive the ancient papercut Silhouette art form, he has additionally traveled to Hong Kong, Macao (1999), Singapore (1996) and Malaysia (1996).
Not content to limit his efforts to locations within China, and surrounds, he has a strong desire to travel to Australia, America and Canada. He wants to both revive this almost lost art in China and to share his talents with not only the Chinese communities in the west, but with the foreigners as well. And so it was that I received my invitation to meet him.
I arrived at the boys dormitory at 10:30 am, and was ushered in to meet the venerable gentlemen. He received me with country style graciousness and an introduction to his 'bona fides.' Over the next hour or so, numerous students entered the room as news spread of the presence of we two 'curiosities.'
When Master Li learned that I write stories at Magic City Morning Star News, he was most interested to see some of my work. After presenting me with my 'Silhouette,' and the subsequent but traditional 'photo op,' we headed off to my room, located in one of the Female Dormitories. (Yes I know! I know! Even Master Li thought it hilarious.) What I thought would be a flying visit turned into a leisurely afternoon spent talking with the Master.
For the next hour or so Tong Chengchen our interpreter continued to facilitate our dialogue, as we looked through some of the photos in the various articles I have published at Magic City Morning Star News, and subsequently as we explored the internet for sites listing Master Li Tianhua.
After some time, Tong Chengchen had to leave, but fortunately I had a house guest staying for a few days. Ke Shangxin had come to stay with me while preparing for a special examination on June 10th. Before Tong Chengchen had to leave, Ke Shangxin returned from visiting a friend, and until it was time for him to leave for his exam, he continued Tong Chengchen's job as translator, additionally assisting the Master by setting up for him, a Yahoo email account - firstname.lastname@example.org - Chinese Only
During the course of the visit both boys complimented me on my 'Chinese Manners,' as I continued to offer and ply Li Tianhua with 'Tea.' Not your regular variety of course, but a special 200 yuan (RMB) per 500 grams tea, which he liked to drink with just a little added sugar.Little did I realise when I had cleaned my house, or when I was using my 'Chinese Manners,' that my 'Host' skills were going to include cooking a meal for the Master.
Before he left, Tong Chengchen asked me several times if I was hungry, and I kept telling him that I had eaten breakfast at 10 am. But eventually the 'penny dropped.' This was the polite Chinese way of saying, 'You should offer the Master some food!' Fortunately, in preparation for Ke Shangxin's visit, I had in fact bought some fresh vegetables and meat. And so it was that Ke Shangxin and I set about preparing a mixed Chinese and Western meal.
As Li Tianhua had advised us that he does not like spicy food, Shangxin cooked up two meat dishes, one with, and one without spice. My contribution to the 'cooking' effort was to assist Ke Shangxin in the preparation of the vegetables for the meat dishes. I also prepared some Western Style potato cubes that I deep fried, and sprinkled with some 'beef stock cubes' which I had brought back from Australia in May.
Additionally I prepared some boiled carrots with honey and butter. With two meat dishes, honey carrots, fried potato, nuts, rice and some beef soup (made from the beef cubes), Li Tianhua, Ke Shangxin and I sat down to eat.
With lunch over, and with Ke Shangxin preparing to leave for his exam, my time with the master appeared to be at an end. As Shangxin left however, I was informed that there was just one last thing to be done. Li Tianhua wanted to do a second Silhouette of me. He was not too happy with the 'red' one he had done in the dormitory, because he was a little cramped by the numerous visitors. And so it was that I was that I found myself alone with the Master (sans interpreter), and we sat down to accomplish the task.
After the Silhouette was complete, I set about taking a photo of it, and while looking at it on the computer, realised that some of the other photos were not so good. I had taken quite a few photos in the dormitory, but they had been taken through the plastic cover of the Master's 'Resume' book, which resulted in the obscuring of some of them by the flash reflection. We removed some of the silhouettes from the book, and after taking new photographs and loading them into the computer, the Master asked if I could email them to his new email account. This I happily set about doing.
During the process, he made a sudden exclamation, stood up, went to the more comfortable lounge chair, sat down, and promptly fell asleep. Looking at his peaceful countenance, and listening to his loud snoring, I decided that with nothing else to do, I would 'edit' the photographs. By the time he awoke, I had completed the task, and showed him the results. Presently Ke Shangxin arrived back from his exam, and our dialogues continued.
It turns out that Li Tianhua's claim to fame includes having met quite a number of world dignitaries. If I have recorded the dates correctly, they include:
1965 Mao Zedong
1966 Zou Enlai
1971 Guo Moruo (Famous Chinese Writer)
1972 President Nixon
1973 Ba Jing (Famous Chinese Writer)
1976 Queen Elizabeth II
Also included in the list are: Deng Xiaoping, Henry Kissinger and English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Little did I imagine when I was invited to go to the boys dormitory, that I would find myself in the company of such an illustrious man, and have my Silhouette cut, not once, but twice. I found myself impressed with the old Master and would love to see his dream of travelling to Western Countries come to pass.
If you are Chinese and appreciate the work of Li Tianhua, and would like to help generate interest in his work in your country, you could help by emailing this article to all your Chinese friends, especially those involved in Chinese Cultural Affairs.
If you are Chinese and living in Zhongguo, let your friends know about him. It would be much appreciated.
I hope you have enjoyed this little adventure with Li Tianhua.
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Li Tianhua is a member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Association and a founding member of the Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art Society. While still young, he studied under the guidance of the famous Chinese cartoonist Wan Laiming. His artistic style is pure, simple, and highly decorative. His sketches and essays have been published in some 120 magazines and journals and China Central Television has aired a short program introducing the art of Li Tianhua. He is currently enjoying fame as the "King of Chinese Papercut Silhouette Art"
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Leo Rosten in the Joys of Yiddish wrote that there is an old Jewish saying, that the difference between psychotics and neurotics is that while psychotics believe that 2 + 2 = 5 neurotics, although fully cognisant of the fact that 2 + 2 = 4, just simply can't stand it! Personally, I think there are a lot of neurotics in the world. When I read all the bad press Israel gets for it's Terrorism in Palestine, and compare it to the press coverage of the current situation in Lebanon, I can't help but think that the Media are neurotic
Jiaye Ancient Library is a famous private library with the largest collection of books in modern China. the construction of the library was started in 1920 and completed in 1924. It covers an area of 13,340 square meters, and expended the gold of 120,000 liang. After liberation in 1949, it has become part of Zhejiang Library that mainly houses ancient books. In June of 2001, Jiaye Ancient Library was deemed a National Preserved Cultural Relic Unit.
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Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]