A warrior’s phoenixes

David LeffmanUncategorized Leave a Comment

Here’s a stone rubbing of a pair of phoenixes amongst peonies, overshadowed by a wutong tree. Peonies are considered the “king of flowers” in China, often paired in art with the phoenix, which usually represents female power. But here, as both male and female phoenix are shown, the peonies simply emphasise the regal nature of the birds. The tree links …

Lockets, locks and longevity

David LeffmanUncategorized Leave a Comment

In 2018 I bought this antique child’s locket (鎖片) in Dali, an old walled caravan town in China’s Yunnan province. Today Dali has become a bohemian holiday retreat for China’s urban middle class, but from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries served as the capital of the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms, whose borders reached from Tibet to Thailand, and at …