Because of reverse jet lag, I have been dozing off since returning from the trip, especially in the evening. Yet I need to write something, if only to prevent my fingers from rusting. This is one of the most important reasons I write this blog. I need to get keep writing, no matter how little I have to say, just to lubricate the keyboard, eh? It's important for me to keep writing now that I'm no longer constructing coherence, whole articles at work, now that I'm drowning in memos and e-mails and other crap utterly devoid of imagination. The keys yielding softly under my fingertip is a heavenly sensation.
Every time I return from Europe, it would take a week or two to claw my way out of the nadir that inevitably follows. It does not help that this time I came home to discover even worse bus service in my commute thanks to the city government's budget cuts. This, after the frequent and impeccable public transport in Copenhagen and London, is even more disheartening than usual. I don't know how long I can take this shit.
The collection at Victoria and Albert Museum is kind of crazy, a mishmash of everything. Theoretically it is supposed to be all about art and design, but throwing together jewelry and Italian Renaissance sculpture replicas, Samurai swords and modern fashion, it's enough to give me a whiplash.
But I was pleasantly surprised by their Chinese export porcelain collection. Not that it makes much sense in the grand scheme of things, but that I actually knew something about it. Just last month I read SJ Rozan's first mystery novel China Trade, which centers around this very subject. Export porcelains were made in Chinese workshops in the 16th and 17th centuries to the orders of European merchants.
According to Rozan, who apparently did a lot of research, export porcelain was the step child in the world of antique porcelain collection in comparison with 官窑 productions, which were intended for 进贡。 Sometimes the western merchants would present western designs to the Chinese workshops, thus creating an interesting mix of styles. Some of the pieces have paintings of bare-breasted European women with Oriental facial features. I chuckled at the mirth of those Chinese artists upon seeing those indecent gweilos' blueprints for their orders.
I think I'm falling in love with Vitaly Solomin's Dr. Watson. I didn't think it was possible, but the Russian Watson is even more of a doey-eyed cute puppy than Martin Freeman! The writer/director Igor Maslennikov and the actor Vasily Livanov conspired to create a warm, caring, expressive, and funny Sherlock Holmes in this adaptation, while preserving the eccentricity of the character from the Canon. But I am most touched by the lovely Watson --- innocent, sentimental, sweet, and so very handsome. Livanov and Solomin are adorable together.
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