The Birth of a Baby
Following the birth of
a baby, a new world is created, not by any God, but by
the baby itself, with the help of all beings and non-beings
related to it, especially its mother. If babies arrive
in this world with a synopsis of the storyline developed
in their previous lives, their mothers are the brave publishers
who publish the books that are yet to be fully written.
Still in her pink jacket
but a green headband (all Chinese mothers used to wear
a cotton headband after giving birth to a baby as a measure
to prevent from wind penetration through the naked head),
the bride is now making a public presentation of the first
book she published a month ago, with her mother-in-law
acting as her PR manager.
The reason for her to postpone
the book review is rather straightforward: according to
Chinese custom, an open celebration of a brand new life
should only take place a month later, so as to allow the
baby to thrive and the mother to recover without disturbance.
On the one month anniversary
(满月), a banquet is normally held and, in the old days,
of the book would be formally assigned, often according
to the suggestion of a yin-yang
master who checked the Five Agents in the birth chart
and came up with one or two characters that could address
the imbalance between the agents.
During the celebration,
While men toast in the front yard or front rooms, the women
relatives and female villagers have a privilege to visit
the publishing house - the bedroom - and give a close review
of the new publication which, in this occasion, is in a
yellow cotton package and held in the arms of the proud
The important thing to
bear in mind is, that no one should ever visit the new
mother and her product empty-handed, which is considered
to be extremely rude. So in the painting we see everyone
bringing something with them, even the little girl in yellow
pants carries a fish (somehow in a peculiar blue colour).
The most notable gifts left by the visitors are a basketful
of eggs dyed
in red - which is a special blessing food for the occasion.
Then it is the nappies.
Nappies in checked pattern of blue and white are everywhere:
being washed by the sister-in-law, being laid out to dry
on benches and on chicken coop ...
China's traditional reproduction
culture based on highly advanced Chinese
medicine theory and practice has for thousands of years
ensured the Chinese nation to become the most populous
people on Earth and Chinese
civilisation to keep progressing from the ancient time
to the present day. The painting produced by Cao Yinying,
who herself was a peasant's wife and a mother, wonderfully
illustrates the event taking place in the bedroom during
One Month celebration.
Spring Clear Up
After one month break by
resting in bed, the new mother is ready to return to work.
The very first task she takes is to clean the mess in her
house. So our heroin walks into the sun and washes clothes
in a round wooden pen and hangs them out on bamboo poles
She has arranged her laundry
in an orderly
fashion to make sure all receive maximum sun exposure without
getting in each other's way. Perching at the top
positions are a child's woolen cap and a pair of woman's
shoes, while down the middle on branches two baby's animal
figureheads find their cozy spots.
Along the poles, baby
nappies in assorted patterns and colours are displayed
like flags at the UN headquarters, and on a low bench
a row of cotton shoes for different seasons are placed
Spring is clearly in the
air. It's a great window opportunity for tidying
up the domestic mess.
This piece of water colour
paining was created by Zhang Yuanying, also a peasant artist
Once placing the domestic
system in order, it’s time for economic development and living
Our heroin, the new mother,
now puts on uniform and sets up a multi-discipline business:
a textile workshop and a childcare centre.
Her working environment
is truly green (under a leafy tree) and her industry is even
greener (zero energy consumption and carbon emission). She
spins cotton yarn onto spools by hand and hangs the spools
on a tree branch (smart utilizing infrastructure facilities
provided by Mother Nature), and her baby is invited to view
a tasseled paper fish (not an electronic toy fish), that
is motioned by wind energy, from its comfortable seat in
a wicker basket, which attracts birds to establish their
own chickcare centre on the upper floor, and butterflies (Butterflies!
There are still butterflies, Imagine! The tree
must have not been genetically modified) dance to the
tune of birds’ concert.
The peasant artist of this
painting is Zhu Suzhen, from a village in Jiangsu Province.
   
Photos Are These? Hu's!