Three magnificent “scholars' rocks” from the historic Quinling Mountains in central China traveled across the world and arrived at the Arboretum in Chanhassen one snowy day last December
The scholars’ rocks at the Arboretum are a gift from the People's Republic of China, Shaanxi Province and University of Science & Technology and will be incorporated into the Phase 2 construction of the new Chinese Garden. The rocks weigh from 7,000 - 32,000 pounds and are a key element in the traditional design of a classic Chinese gardens. One of the rocks features calligraphy of a couplet carved into it. The poetic inscription reads: 聚天地大美，蕴秦汉魂魄, which loosely translates into “Beauty of earth and sky united, Soul of Qinling Mountain forever dwelled.”
All who visit the Arboretum will be able to learn more about Chinese culture and traditions. A plaque at the Chinese garden will be installed recognizing the story of these magnificent rocks from the Qinling mountains and the friendship with the Chinese people.
Phase 2 construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2017. Meanwhile, the scholars’ rocks are temporarily housed in a parking lot near Three Mile Drive. When construction is completed, the rocks will be relocated to their permanent location, based on recommendations from a community advisory committee.
Consul General HONG Lei, Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, sent a nice note to the Arboretum saying, “We very much appreciate your strong support for a good relations between Minnesota and China! We will join hands with you!”
According to the U.S. house-and-home media, tiny house-living is trending big. In Hong Kong, tiny homes have been the way of life for many for decades! A population of 7.2 million people squeezed into 426 square miles.
However, things have reached a new (small) record in Hong Kong - a developer is planning to market spaces as homes on the island’s Happy Valley district that are not much bigger than shoeboxes!
The developer, Emperor International Holdings, plans to convert an existing 21-storey commercial building into 68 “apartments,” each at 61.4 square feet, except for four larger ones, measuring 121.6 square feet each. However, the filing with the Building Department does mention that the 61.4 square feet excludes kitchen and bathroom space. According to a Hong Kong valuation and consultant firm, even accounting for additional kitchen and bathroom space, the Emperor apartments “will still be the smallest flats in Hong Kong.” (For comparison, the average cell at Hong Kong’s Stanley Prison is 81 square feet.)
All of us at China Insight hope you had a great holiday season and are managing to cope with the exceptionally frigid weather we are experiencing. We are excited to resume our regular publishing schedule after taking a month off. We are reenergized and proud to begin our 16th year of publishing. We continue to be committed to focusing on promoting cultural and business understanding between the U.S. and the Peoples Republic of China, along with serving the Chinese community of the Twin Cities.
As most of you may know already, Chinese New Year 2017 will occur on January 28. We wish all our friends in the community a Happy Chinese New Year (Gung hey fat choi) as we prepare to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. According to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, which 2017 will be year 4715, other rooster years are1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005.If you were born a Rooster, you will often find success when you allow yourself to be led by your instinct. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year's Day.
For the first time ever, Park Square and Mu Performing Arts will join forces to co-produce the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Flower Drum Song.” Based on the 2002 book adaptation by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly,” “Yellowface,” “Chinglish”), the production will be directed by Mu Artistic Director Randy Reyes. Previously produced by Mu in 2009, this will be a fully reimagined production featuring new and familiar faces. “Flower Drum Song” takes audiences to the vibrant world of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s to Club Chop Suey, a nightclub owned by a Chinese-American family. Old World tradition clashes with New World trends as two generations, father and son, struggle to honor and protect their cultural traditions while adapting to the changing times.
Phase I of the Hsiao-Ho Chinese Garden Path is now complete and has been open to the public as of Sept. 22. The path, stairs, and viewing platform are accessible. Three large scholar stones were donated to this project from a university in China.
Phase II should be completed spring 2017. This will include a moongate, a path from the platform to the northwest end of the pond where a pavilion will be constructed. A garden with a Tree Peony display along with complimenting plants will be in the area. Phase 2 design planning is beginning for moon gate and contemplative pavilion. Many architectural firms attended the information session for submitting designs that was coordinated by University of Minnesota capital construction.
As part of the community advisors for the Chinese Garden, artist/University of Minnesota instructor Hong Zhang has agreed to help with the artistic naming of the places and calligraphy, an essential part of any important Chinese Garden and artist Yudong Shen has agreed to assist with placement of some critical elements coming to the Garden. Dr. Carol Brash, director of Asian studies at St. John's University, has also been assisting in the development of our garden. She is currently writing a book on Chinese Gardens of North America.
By Greg Hugh
Visiting Minnesota for the first time, Hong Lei, consul general of the Consulate General of The People's Republic of China in Chicago, spent several days here recently. His schedule included diverse schedule of events: a luncheon with the business community, a meeting with the University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, a reception with 70 Chinese visiting scholars, a campus lecture primarily for Chinese students and a dinner reception at Mall of America.
More than 250 students from China currently attending the University and other invited guests attended Hong’s speech, “Let History be Guidance to Future: Jointly Building A New Type of Major Country Relationship between China and US is the Historic Trend,” was delivered in English at the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.Add a comment
By Michael Anthony | 09/16/16 This article by Michael Anthony was originally published in MINNPOST and is being reprinted with their permission
Photo by Cory Weaver - San Francisco Opera's production of "Dream of the Red Chamber."
“Who would have thought that this little group from Minnesota would have generated a major world premiere? It’s unbelievable.”
Kevin Smith, president of the Minnesota Orchestra, was speaking to 119 guests at a banquet last Friday, Sept. 9, in the suburban town of Millbrae just south of San Francisco. The banquet, during which an army of waiters delivered a seemingly limitless round of Chinese delicacies – deep-fried milk, sea cucumber, bird’s nest soup, Peking duck – was a prelude to the main event the next evening, the premiere of “The Dream of the Red Chamber,” an operatic treatment by the San Francisco Opera of one of the landmarks of Chinese literature with music by Bright Sheng and libretto by playwright David Henry Hwang.
The seed money for this ambitious $3 million production, which will travel to Hong Kong in March, was raised by the Minnesota-based Chinese Heritage Foundation in an effort to introduce Western audiences to Chinese culture and in the process to promote mutual understanding.
“The great novels of Chinese literature are virtually unknown in the United States, outside of small communities of academics and Chinese speakers,” said Hwang, a Chinese-American best known in the U.S. for his play and subsequent film “M Butterfly,” which received the 1988 Tony Award for Best Play.
“I, too, as a native-born American, had never read ‘Dream of the Red Chamber,’ even though my plays and musicals are often set in China. Particularly because the evolution of the U.S.-China relationship is likely to determine much of the 21st century, this opera presents a valuable opportunity to expose audiences to a work that expresses the essence of China’s history and national character.”
The project arose out of a conversation between two friends, Pearl Bergad and Linda Hoeschler, in Minneapolis in 2001. Born in Vietnam of Chinese parents, Bergad, a retired molecular biologist, is executive director of the Chinese Heritage Foundation. Hoeschler, a long-time arts patron, is the former executive director of the American Composers Forum.