For my birthday I received some new Chinese watercolor tools. These tools included the four friends of a painter: a bamboo brush, ink stick, ink stone, and of course more paper. They were absolutely beautiful. The ink stone had gold foiling on it, the brushes had pretty calligraphy on them, and the paper may be the best paper I’ve used thus far.
So tonight, to crescent them, I decided to paint a very traditional Chinese painting: a crane. Honestly, I got the idea from the book the tools came with but still, I had fun doing it anyway. You see, the crane is usually a symbol from the Heavens in Chinese belief. In the painting Auspicious Cranes, the emperor used the cranes to symbolize the great prosperity he was to bring to his people (which he never really did). In a Zen triptych that I forget the title of, the crane symbolizes the freedom of enlightenment that one receives from meditation. Thinking of that triptych, there is also a painting of a monkey in it that is suppose to symbolize the opposite of the crane: the jumbled, earthly thoughts of the non-Buddhists. That’s why you never want to have a “monkey mind.”