Wood Carving and Food

The carving of wooden Deities is extraordinary and the carvings are everywhere.  I think there are more wood carvings than there are people.  I watched several carvers working with very sharp hand chisels in Tainan.  This kind of art is usually called craft because the basic content of the work is almost totally fixed.  But there is artistry in every detail.  I couldn’t help thinking that if a craftsman of this caliber where to go “conceptual” or to fall in with some other contemporary art movement, he would be a sensation.

This guy appears to be carving Zhenwu (Perfected Warrior) or perhaps Xuande (Mysterious Virtue).  He has the wide braid down his back, incredible armor with animals at the joints and bare feet, with the left foot sticking out to the side showing that you don't need to be perfect to be "Perfected."
I also saw a guy making a giant puppet. After being in Taiwan for a few weeks I finally gave in and started carrying my video camera around.  Check it out.

Then I had a Gebao.  A simple steamed wheat bun sliced in half with tongue, pickled vegetables, and sesame sauce, served with broth on the side.  The tongue was in honor of my late grandfather (it being father’s day) who could never pass up an opportunity to eat tongue.

The other night I slept through dinner so I was walking around looking for a late night place to eat.  A lot of restaurants are actually storefronts in which everyone sits out on the sidewalk.  I found one with pictures of goats everywhere.  I asked for some noodle soup and he boiled me up some vegetables and some lamb which he put on top of some fine rice noodles.  Then he was like what else do you want?  So I said stock.  There were two stocks boiling away, a dark one and a light one.  I pointed to the dark one but he was like,  "No way I’m giving that one to you."  I asked what the name of each stock was and he said the dark one was Dangui.  He insisted I take the other one.  Which he called Ji, which means chicken but I must have that wrong because it was really good lamb stock.   When I finished the delicious meal, I pleaded with him to just give me a taste of the Dangui, he relented.  Dangui is a potent herb that I know makes qi rise up to my head so I avoid it, but it was great tasting stock.