«

»

Jun 18 2018

Smashing Pottery

It’s hard to start describing the history of China without noting how very old and organized it is. Indeed “older than the Pyramids” which sit in an incredibly run down piece of Cairo barely large enough for you to frame your disgusting camel (they are terrible brutes who spit on you with much more regularity and vehemence than horses) against the sand and stone for your de regueur tourist photo to prove you’ve actually been there.

Not that I’ve traveled to either China or Egypt.

I’ll assume for the sake of argument (and we could argue it) that you’re not intrinsically interested in the trivia of the Xia and Shang dynasties (2070 to 1046 before the Common Era) and advance straight through them (and the Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn, and Warring States Periods) to the Qin (pronounced ‘Chin’, hence ‘China’) dynasty in 221 B.C.E. and the development of the doctrine of “The Mandate of Heaven”.

In summary it holds that The Emperor holds a special dispensation from the cosmos and nature to bring peace and prosperity to his people.

Which is all very well until things start going wrong which they inevitably do. In that case the problem is insufficient devotion and obedience until it isn’t and it’s rot at the top and a New Emperor takes over.

Sound familiar? Humans don’t change.

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice.
He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

Karl Marx- The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

What Marx forgot to mention is- “It’s Cold Outside.” and play I Got You Babe. because Groundhog Day was not in theaters until 100 years after he died.

“Sun going down.” Not for me, I’m a Winter Soldier anyway. “You want to know my secret? I’m always angry.”

Which brings me back to Permanent Interests. In 4000 years China has never forgotten.

I’ve seen Ming pottery, both intact and… umm… deconstructed. It’s not much of a much. It’s thick, not translucent and diaphanous, and no different from Stoke-on-Trent except for original design and coloring. More under painting because it’s done by hand. Corningware (from Corning, New York and basically glass) beats it in a cocked hat.

Tang painting, music, opera, and poetry…

They’re a thing.

Egypt is not provably older than China or Ur. Historians suppose it so since it’s closer to Africa where our monkey uncles came from. Also it’s mentioned in the Bible.