Friday, January 27, 2012

Week 4: In the Year of the Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year! This past Monday, January 23rd, 2012, was the first day of the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar. In Chinese astrology, dating back thousands of years, the dragon symbolizes heaven, luck, and power. Those born in the year of the dragon (1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952,  1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012) are thought to be creative, ambitious, and successful extraverts. Chinese astrology is complicated as well as fascinating, so rather than misquote the information, I urge you to read more about it on your own. If you missed celebrating Chinese New Year on January 23rd, you can follow the Chinese tradition of celebrating until the Lantern Festival, which occurs every year 15 days after Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, I'm celebrating by eating lots of dumplings and tangerines, which according to folklore, will build up my stash of good luck and prosperity!

For this week's Book of the Week I was inspired to make a dragon book, titled In the Year of the Dragon. The scale pages are a string of origami "stars" made of pastepaper lined with suminagashi on kozo, the scary mouth is a folded "devil's pocketbook" of marbled paper lined with suminagashi  on kozo, the legs are accordion-folded marbled paper lined with natural dyed kozo, the tail is a strip of serrated pastepaper, the eyes are spiral-cut circles of pastepaper, and the fiery breath is two strips of marbled paper lined with natural dyed kozo. All along the breath, the tail, the scales, and the legs I wrote fortunes, facts, and folklore about the wonderful Year of the Dragon. Below are some photos of the book, In the Year of the Dragon, taken at NC State University's Ralston Arboretum.
                                    Dragon in a Tree
                                      Dragon in a fiery bush

                                             Dragon in the Dragon Bush

My friend mentioned these pictures reminded her of certain gnome photography... oh dear...

Have a Happy Chinese New Year and may your year be filled with good luck and happiness!


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