Monday, January 02, 2017
Ringing in The New Year
After being fed breakfast on a chilly New Year's Eve morn, my cat Tiger Woods sprawled out on the unmade living room futon and welcomed the New Year as a solar-powered pussycat.
I joined my friends Alexandra Kutik and James Parr at the Asian Art Museum later in the day to see The Rama Epic exhibit. We were caught up in the annual Japanese New Year bell-ringing ritual in Samsung Hall which involved an hour-long ceremony.
It involved dull speeches by museum staff and a "modern dance" performance by Yoshie Akiba, the venerable proprietor of Yoshi's jazz clubs. Yoshie is a tiny woman, probably less than five feet tall, so most of us in the audience could only see the occasional arm flying into the air with accompanying scarf.
Two male monks and their four female colleagues then carried out a ritual ceremony involving chanting and incense. "It's very Midnight Mass," my friend James remarked. The three of us finally were called to ring the antique Japanese bell to expel the bad energy of the last year and send concentrated good wishes to the whale on the land and the dragon in the sky. It felt as if we did.
I then went off to the Tibetan wing to snap a Birthday Buddha photo for my friend Heidi who was born with Christ. The statue above depicts the Tibetan/Nepalese Buddhist deity White Tara in gilded copper from the 15th century.
Nearby was a sculpture of the Buddhist deity Guhyasamaja embracing Sparshavajra. The wall text for the above 15th century Ming Dynasty Chinese/Tibetan sculpture talks about what it symbolizes in religious terms, but it is obviously divine porn. Happy New Year.