Saturday, July 28, 2007

Small quilt, quick and easy

Many months ago I found this tapestry -- a tourtist trade item, obviously -- in a thrift shop for a couple dollars. It is Mt. Kailash, the holy mountain in Western Tibet that both Hindus and Buddhists consider the center of the world. Including being Lord Krishna's birthplace. Many pigrims of both religions journey on foot there to walk the kora -- the path around the mountain. This path is at 13, to 15,000 feet altitude and is not easy but literally thousands do it every year. Some people prostrate all the way around it. The lake in front of the mountain is Mansowar and is likewise revered. I have not been there and don't ever expect to be but I'm sure it is very beautiful. [Apologies, abject apologies, as usualy, for the horrid photo. Lack of decent light is the problem.]

So I had the tapestry, which is about 14x18 and I had added borders and chosen a backing fabric and folded it into a little plastic bag to await being quilted. Yesterday I decided on a different backing and then set to work giving texture to the lake and mountains and sky with very simple quilting. Today I quilted the borders and then added the red/gold print binding -- a design that reminds me of the brocades used lavishly in Tibetan monasteries. And it is now finished except for tacking down the hanging sleeve in back which I will do as soon as I stop writing this since my radio has begun playing Beethovan's magnificent violin concerto and I want to give it the attention it deserves..

One last thing about Mt. Kailash -- I have recently read that the Chinese government wants to build a highway around the mountain to make it easy for tourists to visit. After building the railroad to Lhasa, clearly they have the engineers who can do it but it makes my heart sink. The market economy has gone as hogwild and utterly, greedily mad in China as it is in the good old US of A and they will Disney-ize anything no matter how holy to whoever. It makes me feel sick. I was totally delighted to read in today's newspaper that plans to build a highway to the base camp to Everest, on the Tibet side, so that they can have the Olympic tourch carried to the top of Everest before the games for which they are in such a fever about has been suspended. Obviously they want to claim Everest as theirs, although it is mostly in Nepal and the approach from theTibet side, which it has been successfully climbed, is much more difficult than from the Nepal side -- although many people do it these days it's definitely not a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. Many people die!! Every year!! I sincerely hope they give up this wild and hubristic idea. And I hope they give up the idea of a highway around Mt. Kailash Yes, I saw some tourist sites that were done very tastefully in southern China last fall. But the horrible disrespect for Tibetan religion from the 1950s on has been so egregious it is utterly sickening. ... Working on Mt.Kailash has been as close as I'll get to the meditative experience of walking the kora. The only question now is where to hang it.

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