Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mind your teeth

I found this photograph, which appears in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic, a bit difficult to research. The caption makes clear that this mouthwatering display is not edible: these are rocks! The spread was on display at the 6th International Rare Stone Festival of Liuzhou, Guangxi Province, China. These "Gobi stones" were among the more than 3,000 specimens shown at the festival, which is held every 2 years. Here is the charmingly translated description of a similar display at the 4th annual festival:

"Gobi stones are on affectation in the anatomy of a grand barbecue at the 4th Liuzhou Rare Stone Festival, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on November 2, 2006. More than 1,000 attenuate stones from all over the apple are exhibited."

In addition to "foods," stone musical instruments are also a feature of the festival. Liuzhou has now made a name for itself as a distribution center for rare stones. If you'd rather have a real snack, you'd be better off attending Liuzhou's tea festival. But if you're intrigued by these yummy-looking rocks, look for the work of Taiwanese artist Hsu Chun-I, whose "A Banquet in Stone" was shown at the National Museum of Singapore in 2007. The exhibit featured 50 of Hsu's 250 dishes, including Monkey Head Mushrooms, "Bear's Paw," pig's trotters and eggs in dark soya sauce (Hsu's favorite), "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall," shark fin soup, abalone, "Dragon and Phoenix Steamboat," fried rice, steamed mutton thigh, "bak kut teh" (pork rib soup), walnut ice cream, coffee cake roll, and sweetmeats. Hsu had been inspired 20 years earlier when he saw the popularity of 2 display pieces at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan - a piece of jade that resembled a cabbage and another stone that looked like roast pork.

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