Meatless Monday: Hot and sour lime soup
Green is the color of spring, growth, and spicy hot and sour lime soup.
This post is part of Feasting on Art's The Colour Project.Skip to next paragraph
Feasting On Art
Megan Fizell is a Sydney-based art historian and freelance writer concerned with the representation of food in the visual arts. She is the voice of the food & art blog, Feasting on Art, an innovative translation of painting to plate - recipes inspired by art.
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When considering the color green, there are a number of connotations that are promptly conjured; green is the color of money and wealth, through which one can become "green with jealously." Likewise, it is the color of nature, growth, and life and one can have a "green thumb."
It is within the secret green porcelain of China, called mi se meaning "mysterious colour," that the two connotations of the colour intersect. Mi se was produced in the 9th and 10th centuries in China and was reserved for only the Emperor to see – let alone use – and the porcelain was so secretive that first verified example was not discovered until 1987.
The porcelain was more valuable than gold and silver although its popularity "stemmed partly from the Chinese tendency to mythologise art, in order to appreciate it better (1)." The green color of mi se was derived from a small amount of iron in the glaze and the porcelain itself was obtained from nature. Mi se "comes from the mountains – from their earth and their forests. The wood was used for firing…and the clay was used for the body of the porcelain. But the two together – as wood ash and kaolin – were also used for the glaze that makes up its delicate skin and jade-like colour (2)." This green porcelain of the earth represented the pureness of nature yet was an elusive commodity that embodied the wealth power of the Chinese elite.
Born in 1900, Lin Fengmian began his artistic education as a self-taught pupil with his formal studies commencing, after a move to France, at the Dijon National Academy of Fine Arts in 1920. While in Europe, Fengmian travelled to Berlin and was introduced to the northern European painting movement which contributed to his interest in the combination of Eastern and Western aesthetic concepts. Still Life was completed at the end of Fengmian’s life and most likely features a small vignette from his own home in Hong Kong. Although he worked within the language of Western visual culture, his work is uniquely Chinese through the use of the traditional materials of ink and rice paper. Unique to his art is the square format and bright colours and by painting within the Western aesthetic, Fengmian’s work is comprehensible to international viewers.