‘Wintry Sparrows‘ [latter half of the 11th century] by Cui Bai, Ink and colours on Silk, 23.5 cm (9.2 in) height x 101.4 cm (39.9 in) width, displayed at The Palace Museum, Beijing, China.
Let’s begin by imagining
that any quote I include in this article is being spoken
in an unemotional voice like that of a fully functioning mechanised Robot.
– *Hello, my name is Kuǐlěi Móxiàng*
Please familiarize yourself with this Wikipedia link about superlative 11th Century Chinese painter Cui Bai [link here].
Also excitedly view the extraordinary mechanical genius of Japan’s 19th Century engineer and inventor Hisashige Tanaka:
[Video published by The Asahi Shimbun Digital, Japan – ]
Further detail about Tanaka’s ingeniously made creations can be activated by clicking this link regarding The Myriad Year Clock [here]. I will feature The Myriad Year Clock again later whilst reading this article.
On the morning of 6th September 2018, after I walked upstairs into a first-floor bedroom, why look, several sparrows were sunbathing on my window ledge. Brown wings fanned outwards, squat like Sumo’s upon the Earthling-moulded platform supporting their well-fed bodies.
Perceiving my close proximity through the ledge window, they all took flight with one accord.
In the past I’ve watched sparrows completely ignore my Labrador dog in the garden, both oblivious of interest toward each other. I’ve watched greedy Wood pigeons fly directly over ground feeding sparrows, a matter of mere inches to hoover up the available food. Again, oblivious to each other.
They perceive, understand. My mind fathoms such things all the time, each day.
Did I ever tell you, *I love Art* <= electronic statement without question.
In the stories of Chinese legend the very real historical person King Mu of Zhou [link here] of the 10th Century BCE is presented with an automaton made by a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an artificer.
The story reads this way in English:
*”The king stared at the figure in astonishment. It walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for a live human being. The artificer touched its chin, and it began singing, perfectly in tune. He touched its hand, and it began posturing, keeping perfect time…
As the performance was drawing to an end, the robot winked its eye and made advances to the ladies in attendance, whereupon the king became incensed and would have had Yen Shih [Yan Shi] executed on the spot had not the latter, in mortal fear, instantly taken the robot to pieces to let him see what it really was.
And, indeed, it turned out to be only a construction of leather, wood, adhesive and lacquer, variously coloured white, black, red and blue. Examining it closely, the king found all the internal organs complete—liver, gall, heart, lungs, spleen, kidneys, stomach and intestines; and over these again, muscles, bones and limbs with their joints, skin, teeth and hair, all of them artificial…
The king tried the effect of taking away the heart, and found that the mouth could no longer speak; he took away the liver and the eyes could no longer see; he took away the kidneys and the legs lost their power of locomotion.
The king was delighted.“*
My opening introduction is to applaud imaginative human concepts of art and physical craft dating back aeons ago.
Those Cui Bai – ‘Wintry Sparrows’ could have easily been perched upon my window ledge; and despite a thousand years of time his sparrows would look no different to the aptly named House sparrows I joyously visaged that same said morning.
*raises eyebrows open mouthed in sheer euphoric delight* <= my face when I saw those amusingly adventurous sparrows.
*Erm*, chewing non-descriptively on a carrot, *you are still playing the Robot voice game, right?*
Cui Bai’s sparrows are typically busy, playful little birds. Scouting food. Encouraging congregation as if resplendent branches are offices, homes or la-la-larders.
*silly cat, silly cat why can’t you find us?* – they tweet melodically, Robotically, in our fun game.
We can think of sparrows like ‘antiquitous’ carriages in construction, for there are many kinds. Wood being one of their most favoured sitting positions, mostly in the high places.
The individual species of sparrows are listed immediately below, with modern Chinese sparrow species highlighted in bold.
You can quickly ISBN scan *bloop.. bloop..* over these species to continue reading my article happily thereafter:
Cinnamon ibon, Hypocryptadius cinnamomeus; Passer, the true sparrows; Saxaul sparrow Passer ammodendri; House sparrow Passer domesticus; Italian sparrow Passer italiae; Spanish sparrow Passer hispaniolensis; Sind sparrow Passer pyrrhonotus; Somali sparrow Passer castanopterus; Russet sparrow Passer rutilans; Plain-backed sparrow, Passer flaveolus; Dead Sea sparrow, Passer moabiticus; Iago sparrow, Passer iagoensis; Great sparrow, Passer motitensis; Kenya sparrow, Passer rufocinctus; Kordofan sparrow, Passer cordofanicus; Shelley’s sparrow, Passer shelleyi; Socotra sparrow, Passer insularis; Abd al-Kuri sparrow, Passer hemileucus; Cape sparrow, Passer melanurus; Northern grey-headed sparrow, Passer griseus; Swainson’s sparrow, Passer swainsonii; Parrot-billed sparrow, Passer gongonensis; Swahili sparrow, Passer suahelicus; Southern grey-headed sparrow, Passer diffusus; Desert sparrow, Passer simplex; Zarudny’s sparrow, Passer zarudnyi; Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus; Sudan golden sparrow, Passer luteus; Arabian golden sparrow, Passer euchlorus; Chestnut sparrow, Passer eminibey; Pale rockfinch, Carpospiza brachydactyla; Rock sparrow, Petronia petronia; Yellow-throated petronia, Gymnoris superciliaris; Bush petronia, Gymnoris dentata; Yellow-spotted petronia, Gymnoris pyrgita; Yellow-throated sparrow, Gymnoris xanthocollis; White-winged snowfinch, Montifringilla nivalis; Tibetan snowfinch, Montifringilla henrici; Black-winged snowfinch, Montifringilla adamsi; White-rumped snowfinch, Montifringilla taczanowskii; Père David’s snowfinch, Montifringilla davidiana; Rufous-necked snowfinch, Montifringilla ruficollis; Blanford’s snowfinch, Montifringilla blanfordi; Afghan snowfinch, Montifringilla theresae.
… Be Cause new animated creatures have arrived…
… a Magpie and a Hare, painting pictured below:
‘Magpies and Hare‘ [circa 1061] by Cui Bai, Ink and colours on Silk, 193.7 cm (76.2 in) height x 103.4 cm (40.7 in) width. Currently at National Palace Museum, Taipei.
We see both personality and interpersonal communication within ‘Magpies and Hare’
by Cui Bai, who was also known as Cui Bo.
Actually, Cui Bo almost sounds like Kubo and the Two Strings [link here].
Goodness, everything is alive in Cui Bai’s artworks. True animated mastery. It looks as though we could roll down the hillside like children. The oriental breeze meets delicate leaves. The Magpies appear to be at odds with the hare, squawking their disapproval at Hare’s presence.
Hare is bemused by their intolerance, *I just want to eat my greens, Magpies, for my belly is yet full.*
The branch work sinuously interesting. The furrows provide depth. Right-sided shadows, particularly on Hare, turn 2D imagery into three dimensional painted realities. Sporadic grasses likely hint at Hare’s immutable softness. Positional height and strength of the dominant tree shrub explains the harsh vantage point of the Magpies.
It could also be said the Magpies are defending their nearby home with vigour.
Either way, Hare isn’t harming anyone.
Hare, Tortoise, Turtle, Giant Panda, Sparrow, Crane or Gibbon.
The magnificent one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
I’d like to conclude this article for you with a very special arrow, “The Arrows That Entertain Us“:
[Video clip courtesy of NHK Japan, about modern Japanese watchmaker Masahiro Kikuno].