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EN 11 Symbolism in the Jade Peony

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by

Michael Ferguson

on 29 October 2015

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Transcript of EN 11 Symbolism in the Jade Peony

The jade peony was given to the grandma by
a person that she had "love"d as a young woman. [110]
The person was a juggler, acrobat, musician and teacher.
He was “tall and pale as the whiteness of petals” [110]
He had been a magician, acrobat, juggler …
her hands conveyed to me the quality of their love. [110]
He taught the grandmother how to make wind chimes. A jade peony hung in the middle of the one that he had made for her. It was "“her precious jade carving, the small peony of white and light-red jade, her most lucky possession. In the centre of this semi-translucent carving, no more than an inch wide, was a pool of pink light, its veins swirling out into the petals of the flower.” Page 114
After the juggler's wind chime had fallen apart the grandmother kept the jade peony in a silk envelope that "had to match the
pink
heart of her pendant." She also states that "[pink] is the colour of my spirit." Since these colours are associated with the Chinese artist/teacher, then artist's characteristics, might qualify her soul ... her "heart"-"spirit."
… when she looked out our kitchen window and saw a cat – a long, lean white cat – jump into our garbage pail and knock it over. She ran out to chase it away, shouting curses at it. She did not haver her thick seater on and when she came back into the house, a chill gripper her. … “That was not a cat.” … it was all white and had pink eyes like sacred fire.

“My friend, the juggler, the magician, was as pale as white jade, and he had pink eyes

In my mind’s eye I saw Grandma smile and heard, softly, the pink center beat like a beautiful, cramped heart.
A cat, embodying the physical characteristics
of the albino juggler, appears towards the end of the story, towards the end of grandma's life: "she looked out our kitchen window and saw a cat – a long, lean white cat – jump into our garbage pail and knock it over. She ran out to chase it away, shouting curses at it. She did not have her thick seater on and when she came back into the house, a chill gripped her. … “That was not a cat.” … it was all white and had pink eyes like sacred fire.
“My friend, the juggler, the magician, was as pale as
white jade, and he had pink eyes
Look at the title
Look for repetition (in this case,
peony (words connected to flowers -- "petals"), white, pink, trash, wind chimes,
What do artists do?
Treasure what is ignored by others
Arrange fragments to make a whole that
is greater than the fragments
Cannot be ridiculed away from their vision
Remember the past better than others
See what other cannot, and share that vision
with others.
Full transcript