Art, Creativity, Photography, Travel, Writing

A splash of colour

Some years ago we spent a couple of months in Thailand. However, since we had arrived on tourist visas which were only valid for 30 days we needed to leave Thailand on “a visa run” to enable us to get a new visa on return. We decided to go to Penang for a few days as it was convenient to get to and we’d never been to Malaysia.

Penang proved to be a very colourful place especially as we were visiting during the month of the Hungry Ghost festival during which shows and Chinese opera/theatre performances are staged during a whole month. The Chinese believe that the prayers, offerings of food and prayers, shows and operas will appease the spirits who are allowed into our world to roam for a month. Joss papers and fake money are also burned and we saw several such fires burning in the streets.

200708150044_Hungry-ghost-festival-decorations
paper kimonos on display for the Hungry Ghost festival

200708150127_dragon-joss-sticks
dragon joss sticks produced especially for this festival, they are about 6ft high and for environmental reasons it is forbidden to burn them within the temple grounds

I particularly wanted to visit the blue Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion which was used in the French film Indochina starring Catherine Deneuve.

200708140056_Cheong-Fatt-Tze-mansion

200708140051_Cheong-Fatt-Tze-mansion

The building was constructed according to Feng Shui principles with a chi stone at the centre of the house which possesses a sophisticated system of water pipes which helps keep the house cool. ‘Chien Nien’ (a sort of cut and paste using porcelain fragments) is used throughout the house for decoration since Cheong Fatt Tze had a source of artisans in Penang who brought the craft from their native homes in Fujian and Teochew, China. This style of decoration can also be seen in many of the temples in Bangkok, especially Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn).

200708140053_Cheong-Fatt-Tze-mansion

200708140057_Cheong-Fatt-Tze-mansion
both the doors in this photo are double which means that the inner door can be opened, leaving the outer one closed but allowing conversation to take place

200708140061_Cheong-Fatt-Tze-mansion-entrance-hall
The room just inside the front entrance. This was–and still is–the reception area for visitors. To impress them, Cheong Fatt Tze had a large multi-paneled screen (centre installed with numerous scenes from Chinese history carved in wood finished with gold leaf. The lower panels are covered with an orange-tinted protective coating to prevent further wear and tear on the screens which visitors used to lean against.

The name of the street where this building is – Leith Street – is still referred to as Lotus Lake. Curiously enough the servants quarters were on the opposite side of the road. They were later used as a wine bar but were now up for sale or rent.

A few more splashes of colour we saw on that trip:

200708150001_tattooist-shop
a tattoo shop advertises itself on a concrete column at the edge of the covered walkway

200708140041_Little-India
a shop in the area called Little India

200708140036_prayer-articles-for-sale
prayer articles for sale

200708150118_Peranakan-mansion

200708150146_Hainan-temple
inside Hainan temple

200708140127_batik-for-sale
a colourful batik for sale

Advertisements

Please let me know what you think about this post, I welcome your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: