井底之蛙

10/19/2008

What to do with temples?

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 8:05 pm

Another in our occasional series on teaching aids. One aspect of Chinese modernization that most teachers mention is the modernizing state’s need for buildings to house schools, government offices and such. They also had a need to get rid of temples and other aspects of the backwards old society. Given that the basic architectural structure of all these was the same (connected courtyards) it was easy to toss out the Buddhas and turn buildings into something useful. Here is a nice picture to illustrate this.

This is a cool picture for two reasons. First, this temple has been converted into an industrial cooperative by Rewi Alley’s Gong Ho (Work Together) organization. I always like Gong Ho, since it is one of the few Chinese phrases to have come into English. It is a common phrase in the Marines, and there used to be a gun nut magazine called Gong Ho. I’m going to guess that the people who read Gong Ho did not know that the phrase came from a homosexual New Zealand Communist.

Second, this image is from Graham Peck’s Two Kinds of Time, which I am happy to see is coming out in a new edition. The book is a travelogue of Peck’s trips through West China in 1939-40, and I highly recomend it. Peck, Graham. 2008. Two Kinds of Time. University of Washington Press.

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