Red and Gold

December 19, 2006

Looking out of the hotel window here in Jinan (a relatively small city by Chinese standards of 5 million where Sally is studying Chinese Medicine at a TCM hospital) the haze and numerous undistinguished buildings make it not unlike any other polluted global city. jinan_2However, what I am finding out is that the city’s visual beauty lies hidden in cultural detail. One aspect of this being the usage of the colours red and gold.

jinan_4On the cold, windy peak of Thousand Buddha Mountain, the leafless bushes are brought to life with red strips of prayers and well wishes, while nearby, golden locks symbolizing fidelity and long lasting love contrast easily with the red cloth.

jinan_3jinan_5Peeking through the prayer strips, the giant statue of the Buddha at the foot of the mountain brings life to an otherwise barren winter landscape. It stands well over 150 feet/40 metres tall.

In courtyards, winter’s trees are warmed, and, in temple doors, red and gold peek through smoky incense.


For tired legs, the best part and most appreciated of this past weekend’s hike up the sacred Thousand Buddha Mountain was being able to descend a portion of it in a way that was totally carbon neutral. From the country where mass bicycle usage for transportation is a great environmental asset, coming off the sacred Buddha mountain on a sled was a hoot.

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