Japanese Dancing

Japanese dancing are derived from community activities. It is a long held tradition that had existed in the Japanese communities for many years. They are an important part of the culture of the Japanese people.

Odori and Mai are the two main traditional Japanese dances. Odori dance was developed during the Edo period while the Mai dance was developed in the western region in Japan. Odori is evolved from the Kabuki drama.

The Odori dance incorporates a lot of male sentiments. The Mai traditional dance was often performed in a room. It is rare that the Mai traditional dance is performed on the stage. The Mai dance shows a lot of influence in the Noh Drama.

Many Japanese dances are being developed throughout the history including Noh Mai, Bon Odori, and Nihon Buyo. The Noh Mai interpretation was originated during the 1200 A.D. The Noh Mai dancers danced according to the music played by the flutes. Small drums are also played during the Noh Mai dance performance. The Noh Mai dances can be fast or slow. Chu No Mai is not too fast or too slow. The Chu No Mai dance is usually performed by the female. The Jo No Mai dance is a much slower dance than the Chu No Mai dance. Jo No Mai dancers don’t wear mask. The dancers exhibit a heroic character.

Some of the folk dances that are practiced in the Japanese culture include Iyomanzai, Ayakomai and Sakura. Iyomanzai is performed during the New Year. Ayako Mai is a type of folk ballad dance that is made popular during the 1500 A.D. Ayako Mai dancers are usually girls that are in their youth. The Ayako Mai dancers like to dress in colorful garment that has long kimono sleeve. The heads of the Ayako Mai dancers are covered with red cloths. The Ayako Mai dance plays an important role in the kabuki dance development.

The Furyu presentation is often carried out in front of a large audience. Examples of the Furyu cance are the bon odori and kenbai dance. The koura odori dance is perfomed along with folk ballad accompaniment. Kouta Odori dance consists of a large group of dancers. Bon Odori is a famous dance among the Japanese people. Before the Bon Odori dance is performed, the people will build a tall building called yagura. The yagura building is constructed from wood. As the dancers performed, they will move around the building. The dancing steps of the Bon Odori vary from different regions.

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Source by Kathy Mercado

Anime vs Manga

If you are a magna fan and reading up on the latest anime and manga releases and the history of the subject, you will find there has been a lot of confusion between anime and manga. Oftentimes, fans will ask others on forums or on blogs or in chat rooms what the difference is. But this is like having the blind lead the blind in most cases.

There are experts who visit these sites and can answer questions intelligently, but since they do not usually leave links to back up their claims, it can be unclear if what they say is true or if they are really experts. If you go to an online encyclopedia, you often find so much information to wade through with so many big words, it’s hard to fully make sense of it all.

Suffice it to say that manga means Japanese comic books, or in other words, those drawn-on-paper cartoons originating in Japan. Similar to the American comics with Superman and Spiderman, these comics were often made into different series and are still produced in quantity. Anime is animation, or you could say, the animated versions of manga.

Any animation actually needs to start out as a cartoon drawing of some kind. Manga artists create the characters and story line, then their drawings are made into animated film. The animation process is long and detailed, and takes a number of talented people to bring off the final product. The artists who originally create the character, his personality and the scene where the action takes place play a large part in the production of the anime.

Sometimes, besides the creator of the manga itself, studios take the artwork and make the backgrounds and other details with the labors of other animators. These drawings are combined and photographed or scanned as one piece, making an entire scene with the character, extras and the sights of a modern city or whatever is being portrayed. Thus anime is created.

Rumko Takahashi created the popular series, Inuyasha and Ranma ½. She does the original drawings and assists in the animation process along with other artists in the studio that produce the final anime. And so it is with many manga-kas (manga writers).

Which came first, manga or anime? That is easy to answer in studying the history of cartoon drawing. In Japan, the most famous manga artists were in production in the 1940s, for they were producing cartoons regarding the World War in progress at the time. That doesn’t mean there weren’t other cartoonists prior to this time. Certainly there were.

In the U.S., comics were in vogue early on. As early as the late 1700s, Benjamin Franklin started the first editorial cartoon. This soon expanded to the longer comic strips, the first of which was drawn by Richard Outcault in 1895. Then in the 1930s there were the debuts of such heroes as Superman and Batman.

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Source by Andrew Wills

Paprika Anime Analysis

Paprika is an amazingly complex and entertaining anime. It takes us into a different world and shows us incredible events mainly from the perspective of Doctor Atsuko Chiba and Detective Toshimi Konakawa. Chiba leads a research team in the development of a device to be used for psychotherapy called the DC Mini. She starts using it to treat Konakawa, but somebody steals the DC Mini and throws the world into chaos as dreams and reality begin to merge. Paprika is a representation of contemporary Japanese society as it deals with issues of becoming an increasingly technological society.

Paprika shows the dangers and benefits of technology. The idea that technology can have good and bad components is common to many other anime in science fiction, apocalyptic, and mecha genres. J. P. Telotte terms the idea of celebrating technology while being wary of its destructive and dehumanizing potential “double vision” (Napier 86). Paprika shows various examples of how technology, represented by the DC Mini, can be used to benefit humankind. Chiba uses the DC Mini medically to treat Konakawa’s recurring nightmares and ultimately resolve his psychological conflict. The DC Mini is also a device of empowerment. It opens up the dream world in a way where people can learn to actively resolve their internal, psychological problems. Konakawa ultimately resolves his issue of dealing with his friend’s death by confronting his problems in the dream world. Chiba uses her alternate personality named Paprika in the dream world to help others through psychotherapy. The DC Mini is shown as a technology that can have a great potential to help others.

Paprika also presents apocalyptic visions of Japan through its interaction with the DC Mini. The chairman steals the DC Mini in an attempt to merge everyone’s dreams resulting in blurred lines between reality and dreams. This shows the potential for technology to be used selfishly to carry out an individual’s personal desires leading to chaos in the world. Furthermore, this could be interpreted as a criticism on technology’s capability to disengage people from reality and rely on “comfort-through-escape” (Figal). Figal applies this idea specifically to media as represented in Paranoia Agent, but a similar idea may be applied to the concept of the DC Mini in Paprika. In the dream world, even when people are dragged into the chaotic parade of dreams created by the chairman, people are shown to be in a crazed happy state.

Technology also has an ambiguous influence on identity. This is shown through Chiba’s personality contrasted with Paprika, her alternate form. Chiba is shown to be a very serious, somewhat introverted woman committed to her work while Paprika is very extroverted and carefree. This might represent the struggle of identity on an individual level for people living in a high tech world. This presents both positive and negative aspects of technology. The DC Mini allows Chiba to explore and display different aspects of herself in different worlds (the real world and the technological/dream one accessed through the DC Mini), but her two sides conflict with each other. This is manifested in actually arguments between the two characters. So while technology may provide a way for individuals to express various aspects of themselves they may not otherwise be able to, it also may present conflicts between different aspects of the self that someone may not be able to reconcile with.

Paprika presents the idea of “double vision” of technology. The DC Mini can at once be used for healing and empowerment, but also be used to take over the world and destroy order. It can provide a method for individuals to express conflicting sides of themselves.

Works Cited

Figal, Gerald. “Monstrous Media and Delusional Consumption in Kon Satoshi’s Paranoia Agent.” Mechademia, 2010: 139-155. Web. DOI: 10.1353/mec.2010.0013.

Napier, Susan. Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Print.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

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Source by Shirley H Lee

Animation Style – The Attraction of Anime

Before I discovered anime, I was a child of the Warner Bros, Hanna-Barbera, A.A.P.(Associated Artists Productions) and Disney generation. I was raised on Bugs, Jonny Q, Popeye and Mickey. My understanding of basic physics came from Professor W. E. Coyote. My early understanding of people came from B. Bunny. Yogi encouraged us to visit Yellowstone National Park and taught us not to feed the bears. Jonny Q made it cool to have a dad who was an international scientist. The Disney studio gave us the unforgettable mix of Hollywood spectacle, choreography and musical and also taught us the value of marketing, plus giving us a theme park or two. Anime has brought a whole new generation a different set of style, script, color palette, sound effects and cultural perspective.

Strong Female Characters: If you haven’t noticed, the characters I have mentioned above were male. In anime, female characters are prevalent, strong and held in esteem or respect. The anime film, Princess Mononoke is a classic example of a story with strong female characters. Two of the three main characters are female; San a.k.a. Princess Mononoke (female), Lady Eboshi (female) and Ashitaka (male). The films’ tag line of; “the fate of the world rests on the courage of one warrior”, gives thought as to who of the three that one warrior is. Within this group each individual is a warrior with great qualities and strengths within their own scope within the storyline. If you have not had the pleasure of watching the movie, it is not my intention to spoil your experience by further discussing the plot. I only encourage you to view the film for yourself noting the roles and interactions of the male and female characters.

Timeless Story Themes: The timeless nature of the anime story theme is not merely the classic superficial good versus evil conflicts, but rather the deeper conflicts that arise in differences of opinion or point of view. Anime scripts have a tendency to reveal visually more information on a character’s background which then gives the audience a more meaningful understanding of that character’s personal struggles. In many instances the audience will feel a reflection of that conflict within their own soul.

Social Commentary: Traditionally much of Japan’s writing has had a slant regarding the negative outcomes of technology outpacing cultural or social development or wisdom. The fact that Japanese anime has such a following in much of North America and the world at large suggests an importance in those concerns being expressed. In the film “Princess Mononoke”, the conflict between the old traditions of agriculture and the holistic or animistic beliefs pitted against the progress of Iron Age technology has meaning in many areas of today’s global issues. Anime stories traditionally expose and question the lines of progress, commerce, loyalty, honor and culture all within the graphic nature of animation.

Less Dialogue – More Meaningful Acting: North American movies in general use a lot of dialogue in scripts. A lot of traditional anime will “show the story” rather “than tell the story”. As a directing style, the visuals usually concentrate on a close-up of a hand, the weather or environment, clouds changing and normal life scenes like people eating, gathering or building. The most famous style is the focus on the characteristic anime “trembling eye”. Anime uses lots of eye, hair and clothing motion to express emotion in a scene. Anger is indicated as a flash across the close-up eye. Flushed cheeks and graphic expression lines are used to indicate embarrassment. (As a cultural difference – in American animation this indicates anger.) These and other techniques are used in the graphic novels from which the anime form evolved.

Strong Style and Color Choices: Anime style is beautiful to watch. It has a sense of poetry, it has a rhythm. Anime is not afraid to be art. You don’t even need to have the speakers on to appreciate the story, the motion and graphic splendor. 3D animation always tries to push the envelope to be completely, believably real especially in the field of special effects. In my opinion, art should be allowed and encouraged to be art. Whether the anime film is a story of whimsy or a science fiction battle or anime vampire movie, I love to see where the director has taken their film that further embraces and complements the story.

The Future of Anime: As long as there is an appreciation for anime, the form will continue. There is a sense of craft, tradition and pride in this visual story telling technique which is the backbone of this genre. With the continuing development of flash animation software and 3D to 2D conversion software (to emulate anime) the creative edge is always progressing, making it accessible for the new generation of filmmakers. My only concern is that oversaturation of the market with anime products may turn the audience away. The silver lining to this is that the best films will always find their audience and have a following continuing to be classics for many decades to come.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Vera Saar

Digital Photography – What Are Pixels?

Once upon a time artwork was created with pigments, paints, inks, and dyes. Real tangible things in a real tangible world. But as we are moving into the digitial world, the common material in artwork is shifting to a digital form… the pixel. Whether your digital creations are photographs or Photoshop creations or illustrator artwork, any digital art piece is composed of pixels. But what are they really?

The word pixel is actually short for picture element. So in a very literally sense, a pixel is one of many minute details, or elements, creating the whole image. Every photograph or digital art piece, is made up of pixels. They are the smallest unit of information that makes up a picture. The more pixels in an image, the larger and more detailed the artwork most likely is.

The number of pixels used to create an image is often referred to as the ‘resolution’. The best digital cameras have the highest pixel count because they produce a higher-quality image. Because if you remember, the more pixels you have available, the more precies and detailed your image can be.

In colour images a pixel is typically comprised of three color components known as RGB (red, green, blue) or four color dots, known as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Most digital forms of art are saved as RGB since that’s how screens are programmed to read the colors and project the light. But most professional printers will use the CMYK format because your standard printer is set up to print with CMYK pigments.

Regardless of whether you are using RGB or CMYK, when these colour dots converge, they build coloured pixels. So if you have red and blue pixels resting near one annother your are likely to see a purple hue in the larger image.

These days we often focus on Megapixels more than on the idea of individual pixels. A megapixel (MP) is 1,000,000 pixels. In addition to it’s reference to the number of pixels in an image, it also expresses the number of image sensor elements in digital cameras or the number of display elements in digital displays. For example, a camera that makes a 2048×1536 pixel image typically uses a few extra rows and columns of sensor elements and is commonly said to have 3.2 megapixels or 3.4 megapixels.

In most digital cameras, the sensor array is covered with a patterned color filter mosaic containing the red, green, and blue we discussed earlier. This set up allows each sensor element to record the intensity of a single primary color of light. The camera interpolates the color information of neighboring sensor elements, through a process called demosaicing, to create the final image. These sensor elements are often called “pixels”, even though they only record 1 channel (only red, or green, or blue) of the final color image.

It’s also important to note that a camera with a full-frame image sensor, and a camera with an APS-C image sensor, may have the same pixel count, but the full-frame camera may have better dynamic range, less noise, and improved low-light shooting performance than an APS-C camera. This is because the full-frame camera has a larger image sensor than the APS-C camera, therefore more information can be captured per pixel. A full-frame camera that shoots photographs at 36 megapixels has roughly the same pixel size as an APS-C camera that shoots at 16 megapixels.

So while a pixel itself may be very small, without them we would not be able to make up the whole. Each pixel helps bring detail and life to an image. The more pixels you have the more detailed the art piece you can create.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

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Source by Stephanie Gagnon

Art Collecting Tips for Profit and Pleasure (A Six-Part Series): Part 5 – Art Conservation 101

After you’ve spent precious time and resources building up an art collection, it

would be a shame to have its value depreciate because of a lack if knowledge of

proper care and conservation for works of art. Some ageing is natural and

acceptable to a certain degree, but deterioration or damage due to negligence is

not, especially when it can be avoided.

You’ve probably seen what humidity, light and mold can do to photo prints and film.

The same environmental conditions which inflict this kind of damage threatens your

art pieces. In fact, with the worsening environment, art works are more in danger

than ever before. Even modern lifestyles pose a threat. Have you noticed how art

galleries and museums discourage the use of flash cameras and other artificial light

sources in the presence of their exhibits?

As the curator of your own collection, you would be well-advised to protect your art

pieces from the following hazards:

Pollution

Dust, dirt, human bodily fluids and oils (such as perspiration) and acids are

corrosive and discoloring to art. The first three elements are obvious, but where do

acids come from? These can be found in household cleaners, air fresheners,

chemicals found in furniture, carpets, curtains, appliances, packaging and even the

air. Direct skin contact is also damaging to art, which is why handling art works with

bare hands should be avoided.

Humidity

This may be good for the skin but the same cannot be said to be true for art.

Humidity, moisture or dampness cultivates mold and causes foxing, or brown

spotting on the art. Storerooms are typically humid and poorly-ventilated, the

perfect breeding ground for these evils, as well as vermin like silverfish and

cockroaches. Even paintings and prints displayed on walls can be destroyed by the

wormholes or worm tracks of silverfish. Check any art on display regularly for any

potential problems.

Heat

A very dry environment can also be damaging to art. Constant humidity of less than

40% can make art works, especially paper or textile-based ones, brittle and very

fragile. Humidity should range from 40% to 60%. Modern living environments in

cooler climates widely use central heating or radiators which may make conditions

far too dry for delicate art. To minimize the problem, try placing bowls of water on

radiators.

Radical fluctuations in temperature can cause items to expand and contract. Art

should preferably be kept at a constant temperature, just like in special exhibition

rooms in museums.

Light

Art cannot be appreciated without light but too much light is detrimental to art, as

the UV found in both natural and artificial light fades colors and details.

Protective Options

So what can you do to protect your art collection?

You can try to keep your art pieces in a relatively pollutant-free, temperature, light

and humidity-controlled environment. This may involve:

  • purchasing and installing special boxes, chests, cabinets or
    folders

  • designating a special purpose-built room or area for your
    collection

  • renting specialized storage space designed for housing delicate
    art

Some protective options, such a metal cabinets, are rather ugly, but they will protect

your valuable items more effectively than, say, wood. Not all materials are equal;

acrylic plastic is preferred to glass, and acid-free paper is better than normal paper.

You’ll find some examples here:

[http://www.home-museum.com/How-To-Arts/how-to_contents.htm][http://www.home-museum.com/How-To-Arts/how-to_contents.htm]

The variables can be confusing, so seek the advice of an art specialist or archiving

expert to get started on the right foot.

If you keep your lovely art works safely tucked away under lock and key, you will not

have the pleasure of displaying and admiring them. That would be like having the

cake and not being able to eat it. Find a balance that suits your requirements.

Copyright © 2006 Carol Chua

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Makler Heidelberg



Source by Carol Chua

6 Reasons Why You Should Buy Paintings Directly From Artists

When you decorate the walls in your home, there are a number of facts, that support you should buy paintings directly from an artist, instead of buying reproductions in online shops or physical shops.

  • You get an original, unique painting that no one else has
  • The painting is carefully created, down to the smallest detail
  • You get a quality product, made of excellent materials
  • You get the most bang for your buck – no commission to online or physical galleries
  • The selling price is higher when you want to make changes in your collection
  • You get a better service, the artist will answer any questions you have

You get an original unique painting

When you buy an original, unique painting from an artist, you get a unique piece of art, there is only one of one-of-a-kind.

And you can use the artwork to design the decor in your home with your own special touch, without any fear that your family, friends or neighbors already have the same painting or can imitate your decor.

If we look at the definition of the word “original”, The Danish Dictionary says it is an “object or phenomenon that is the basis for a copy.”

Be aware that many online and physical stores that advertise with “original” paintings, actually sell reproductions where the artistic value is practically non-existent.

Copies are typically made at art factories in China and other Eastern countries. The workers there doesn’t always have the best working conditions. Employees work many hours a day without any breaks, and the production is made in buildings, that lack basic needs such as glass in window and heating during winter.

There is also a couple of Danish mass producing art factories, which employ Danish artists who produce copies under pseudonyms.

It may be difficult to spot whether it’s a real or fictitious artist and if it’s an original painting or a copy – here are a few tips you can use, factors that indicate it is a real artist:

Start by Googling the artist and see what information comes up. Does the artist’s contact information appear, is he having his own website, does the search show earlier exhibitions?

  • If there is an artist profile on the store’s website, and it shows a photo and a biography of the artist.
  • If an artist profile with biography is attached to the painting, and there is shown a photograph of the artist.
  • Things that indicate it is an original unique painting:
  • If there is a real artist behind and not only a pseudonym.
  • If the painting is signed with the full name, title and year on the back of the canvas.

The painting is created with great care

Unique paintings, made by real life artists, are characterized by the artist using hours and hours of work on composition, texture, color composition and color blending. The result is an artwork with endless small details, beautiful colors and great depth, which means you will continuously discover new details, textures, and details.

Initially the artist plan the composition, style, subject, and medium. After that, the process of creating the painting consists of a series of different steps: priming of the canvas, applying texture pulp (1-3 operations), painting the subject (1-5 operations), top finish and at last, a topcoat.

It varies a lot, how many times an artist must work on a painting before it is ready for the public, but typically it’s worked over 5-10 times. Especially when the creation requires many thin translucent layers and transparent colors, it has to be worked over many times.

Characteristic for the production of reproductions is, that there is very little time for producing each painting, normally there are only 15-20 minutes available.

This means, that it is only possible to make a painting with a maximum of three layers before it is ready. Often the painting will be manufactured in one process, and the employee is parallel working on up to 50 copies of identical paintings. Therefore, reproductions are often missing details and depth.

You get a quality product

Many artists take pride in using paint, materials and tools in a very high quality.

Basically, a distinction is made between three different qualities within artist paint: School quality, student quality, and artist quality.

What factors do determine the quality of the painting? It’s a question of the pigments being used, the proportion pigments have relative to the fillers, and the bindings.

The highest quality paint is using the most expensive pigments, the largest share of pigments and contains little or no fillers.

School quality is the cheapest and is used for training in school classes. It’s not suitable for a real painting, used to decorate your home with, since the poor quality means difficulties in mixing with other colors, the paint can not maintain the texture and dries to a flat shape, and lack colors fade resistance, opacity, tinting strength and transparency.

Student quality is a basic paint, which is used for priming of paintings and opaque surfaces. It is a sound quality, that has some good characteristics so the colors can be mixed, and they keep the texture to an acceptable degree. The only problem is, that these colors have trouble showing transparency without the use of mediums.

Artist quality is top of the line with high lightfastness, high opacity, strong color tinting and high transparency. All in all, it gives the possibility of making paintings with very fine details, brilliant colors, and great depth. And the high proportion of pigments secures that the paintings will have a long shelf life, without the colors starting to fade away or paint flaking off.

The professional artist uses canvas in good quality, made of cotton and/or linen.

The vast majority of artists always finish the process with a layer of protection in the form of varnish or gel. It secures a painting that will last for many years, and also makes it easier to clean.

Reproductions usually use artist paint in school quality and student quality – the outstanding artist quality will not be used because of a high price. And copies don’t get the topcoat that protects against UV rays and sunlight and provides durability for many years to come.

The canvas they use are often made of 100% polyester, providing a rigid surface, that is unable to stretch with the paint under various humidity conditions.

You get the most bang for your buck

If artists are selling through online or physical galleries, they often must pay up to 50% of the sales amount to gallery owners.

Obviously when you are dealing directly with the artist, there is no paid commission, and there is thus no costly intermediaries to monetize on the artworks.

The selling price is higher

When you want to sell a painting you initially bought from a professional artist, the prices keep a higher level, compared to copy paintings you buy online and in physical stores.

Generally, you can get approximately the same amount as your buying price for paintings purchased from an artist, whereas reproductions fall drastically in price, so you only get about 25% of the amount you originally paid.

And if you spot a talented artist, you can make money when you sell again.

It requires a lot of practice, and that you know what to look for when buying art.

You get a better service

When you deal directly with a professional artist, he or she will answer any questions you have. Whether it comes to design, materials, maintenance or otherwise.

And you have of course also the possibility of letting the artist creating a unique piece with your own colors and designs.

Many artists also offer to help with transportation.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Michael Lonfeldt

Puppetry – A Dying Traditional Art

Lifestyles have changed so rapidly that many of our traditional crafts and hobbies have been consigned to the archives. Television and videos take up our free time, and the incredible Information Highways have turned us into obsessive compulsive freaks who can’t keep our fingers off the mouse. We have become cross-eyed, staring at computer screens, and kyphotic, hunched in our high-backed chairs. The tragedy is that even our children have caught the bug, and prefer the computer to other carefree games and hobbies. Haven’t we read of prodigies aged three or four, who have already become Cyber-addicts!

Stress is inevitably the internal reaction to these high-tech stimuli, and the eternal urge to be one with the crowd, is driving many young people to depression, nervousness, peptic ulcers and chronic fatigue. In the light of these realities, it would be wise not to lose sight of our old traditional pastimes that could prove therapeutic, but are unfortunately dying for want of patronage.

One such is the art of Puppetry. Puppets came into being in India, under the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire, in 3rd Century A.D. It was honed into a theatrical art in Andhra Pradesh. It helped to propagate the works of saints and religious leaders, and also depict stories from the Hindu epics.

Later, it spread to South East Asia. The Cambodian puppeteers inspired the Thais, and in 14th Century, Thai shadow play came into prominence. Java and Bali followed, though it didn’t catch on in Sumatra.

The Malays followed the Siamese and Japanese styles in 19th Century. At the Museum Negara in Kuala Lumpur, a gallery of shadow puppets from sixteen countries, have been exhibited. In all these countries, Rama, Sita, Hanuman and Ravana are the principal puppets, as tales from Ramayana are staged. Stories from the Mahabharatha also lend themselves to interpretation by puppeteers.

Puppetry is more than 1500 years old in China. Their stories are never from the Hindu epics, but from ancient Chinese classical literature. In the days of old, the Imperial Court was the chief patron of the puppeteer.

Greek puppets originated in 5th Century B.C. and were made of small-jointed clay figures. There is evidence too of puppetry in ancient Egypt, mostly miniatures of Gods.

The word puppet is derived from the Latin word ‘pupa,’ meaning ‘doll’ or ‘girl.’ In the mid-nineteenth Century, it was called ‘marionette’ because the puppet of Mary was used in Nativity plays. Puppets survived the Middle Ages, even though the Church prohibited Drama and Theatre.

In 16th Century, during the gold rush to the Honduras, a man called Cortes entertained these pioneers, during their long journey from Mexico to their El Dorado.

In Italy, Germany, France and England, puppetry flourished from 16th Century onwards. The lovable Punch and Judy are friends of our childhood. Surprisingly, they did not originate in England. Punch was the brain-child of an actor from Naples, who called his character “Polcinella” (little chicken), and depicted the lovable qualities of the chicken. This puppet became so famous, that in 1660, he reached London as “Punchinello.” The name was quite a mouthful, so it was abbreviated to “Punch.”

Punch acquired a wife called Joan, in Philadelphia. With both these puppets, the “Punch Opera” was produced and played in New York. Joan became Judy in 1825. These quaint characters have delighted both children and adults all over the globe, in theatres or on sidewalks, in museums or at street corners.

Gradually, puppet characters were added to the repertoire. Puppets became more sophisticated in appearance, as skilled craftsmen began to make the models. Puppeteers became trained as performers, and many original plays were staged. What was once a one-man show became a family occupation involving several members of the family or small companies of men.

In 18th and 19th Centuries, puppet theatres became extremely popular in artistic circles. Writers like George Sands and Goethe organized their own well-prepared puppet shows to entertain their friends. Famous men like Samuel Pepys, noted down in their diaries, the names of the shows they had seen. George Washington even wrote down the sum he had spent, to take his family to the show. Puppet shows have been mentioned in literature by Shakespeare, Ben Johnson and many others.

All over Europe and in London, guilds and societies were formed. Books were published on the history, drama and technique of puppet shows.

However, with the advent of World War II, there was decline in puppetry. Most of the young men were called to arms. Here and there, a lone puppeteer with his portable stage put up a show in the camps, or bomb shelters or hospitals.

Basically there are three kinds of puppets.

The SHADOW puppets are made of translucent leather and coloured vegetable dyes. Buffalo, goat or sheep skin is treated to become translucent. Limbs are jointed loosely, so that they can be made to move separately. A stick is attached vertically in the middle. Movement of the sticks causes general movements. But for special movements, single strings attached to the limbs are used.

These leather puppets are projected on a screen, which is illuminated by a light source placed behind the puppets. Indian shadow play is different from other countries, as the flat puppets are pressed against a white screen, so that a clear coloured shadow is seen by the audience. The puppeteer sits behind the source of light and manipulates the puppets, to form moving shadows on the screen. He also speaks the parts, sings, or is accompanied by music. The light source is a bowl filled with castor or coconut oil, and lit by a wick. These are now replaced by low-voltage electric bulbs.

In South India, shadow puppets are called Tholu Bomalatta or Thogalu Bombeatta. In the good old days, troupes of artists roamed the countryside, and held performances at night in the villages. It had mass appeal for rustic folk. These puppeteers belonged to a semi-nomadic tribe called ‘Kiliikyathas,’ and came from Andhra and North Kanara. As this was not a lucrative profession, they did manual labour during the day, and only held shows at night.

They performed only on invitation. The performance was booked with a token fee of ten rupees given along with betel leaf and a piece of arecanut, by the headman of the village.

The sutradara (head puppeteer) performed the invocation to the local deities. This ceremony called ‘karagallu,’ was to ward off famine, pestilence or evil in the village.

The puppets were transported in cane baskets, and retained their colour for years. Disposal of the puppets when they had outlived their usefulness or when there were no people to carry on the show, was by immersion in a river or sea.

There is another form of puppetry in South Kanara. Here the STRING puppets or marionettes are manipulated by six strings. The performance is on a stage six feet long and four feet wide, with a background of blue or black cloth. The puppeteers or magicians are never seen. They wear anklets which produce the illusion that the puppets themselves are dancing.

The main story teller (Bhagvata) recites the story line, while the puppets perform, and the dialogue and music is provided by the puppeteers. This Yakshagana puppetry is 300 years old, and travels with the field drama troupe, which play all over South Kanara. Puppet shows are held during intermission, as the dramas go on all night.

Puppetry needs only a small investment in money, material, manpower. Both stage and puppets are portable. The performing area is small. Shadow puppetry originated in the East and traveled west.

The ROD puppets are of Western origin and have traveled east. They are also called Stick puppets, and are constructed around the main central rod. A short horizontal bar serves as the shoulders, from which the upper limbs dangle. The arms are made of cloth and stuffed with straw or paper. They are jointed or manipulated with other thinner rods. These puppets can be the size of a man or larger. They are dressed up in different costumes, and the puppeteer hides behind the puppet and manipulates it. The face, neck and hands are flesh coloured. The face can be made of paper mache or cloth stuffed with straw, and covered over with clay and starch paint. The features are outlined with a brush. Coordination of the limbs comes only through practice.

The soft or BODY puppets are made with cloth and manipulated with hand and fingers. One needs deft fingers for movements, and a ventriloquist’s voice to simulate speech.

The visual impact of puppetry is awesome. Besides, the audience can participate whole heartedly with their comments and encouragement. It provides clean family entertainment.

Construction of puppets is a rewarding hobby. It needs good powers of observation, and the ability to replicate characters, something like a cartoonist. It needs a basic knowledge of anatomy, and skill in making the joints mobile. Innovation with various materials like cardboard, biscuit tins, even banana skins is possible. With a little imagination, skits or plays to educate or entertain can be produced.

Puppetry is a good communication medium for rural audiences. Messages of health, hygiene, family planning can be propagated in a realistic way. Countries like Africa are already using puppets for health propaganda.

Puppet making and performing is a good occupational therapy for convalescents and physically disabled people. Muscular coordination and manual dexterity improve with effort.

Psychoanalysis of children is also possible by analyzing the comments they make on what they see.

Rural advertising is another possibility. Promotion skits can be staged to inform the public about new products available.

However, the best use of this art is as a hobby. Building and presenting puppet shows can provide delightful hours of fun to young and old alike. Let’s not let puppetry die.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Eva Bell

CEROMANCY: The Fine Art of Candle Reading

Lately, I have been asked a lot of questions in the Psychic Realm chatroom about “ceromancy”. That is the fine art of reading a situation by studying the way a candle burns. Are the flames leaping high? Is the wax sizzling and crackling and popping? What does it mean when the flame goes out?

Many people in the Realm over the last year have become avid candle-burners and realized quite instinctively that the way a candle is behaving is often a mirror of the situation as it presently exists and its outcome. It is, after all, one of the world’s most ancient forms of divination. The leaping and reaching candle flames are seen to represent the souls of the individuals involved in the situation being read. For instance, one member, the other day asked me what it meant when the wax from the candle she was burning for love melted into the shape of a heart. Anyone who is used to reading wax drippings knows that is extremely good news and probably means the other person is thinking of you.

Another phenomenon that I am constantly asked about is what I call “accelerated magic.” This is when a candle, that usually lasts about four hours, starts smoking and seems to burn down very rapidly …like in about fifteen minutes. This is usually good news and means that your prayer or request will probably be answered quite rapidly. If the candle was being burned for protection of some kind, it means that there was more than likely some kind of invasion or attack that the spirits decided to take care of as fast as possible.

In general, when you first light the candle, if the candle starts smoking quite heavily right away that is a very good sign. It means that negative energy is being removed from the situation. If the smoke is white, it means your prayers will be answered right away. If it is black, your prayer will probably be answered, but it is possible there will be obstacles in a way. You have to use your gut instinct if the flame doesn’t smoke at all. Sometimes that can mean there are no obstacles and other times, it means that the matter is long over. A clear, strong flame that burns steadily is a good sign that the candle is sending out a great deal of power and energy to manifest what you want. If it is small and more ball shaped than teardrop shaped, it is less likely that your prayer will be answered. A weak or low flame means you are facing some “heavy” opposition.

Staring at a flame is a great way of telling you if your magic is working. It never ceases to amaze me how a flame will seem to grow higher or grope for more air the more you meditate upon it. You can also do some divination by looking straight into the heart of the flame – the blue center that is surrounded by the orange halo. A healthy flame has a bright red core, surrounded by a blue halo and then a yellow colour. A blazing red center tells you that spirits are getting to the heart of the matter. A red center that is dim or just a pinpoint reveals a situation that may not be motivated by the heart. If the wick of the candle starts building a little bulb at its tip, chances are that you have opposition or a third party working against you. If there is a lot of blue in the flame, I take that as a sign that angels and spirits are protecting you from a possibly unhappy outcome.

Jumping, leaping and steadily rising flames are an excellent indication that spirits are fighting the obstacles that are in your way. This can be quite fascinating to watch, especially if the flame is really jumping and you are burning a candle that is intended to fight another’s will. If the flame is really protesting, so is the person and sometimes this is your cue to put the candle out. If the candle makes sizzling, hissing or popping sounds, this is also a sign that some kind of spiritual warfare is taking place. If it scares you or doesn’t feel right put the candle out. However if it feels like obstacles are being destroyed or eliminated then enjoy the show.

If you are burning a love candle and a second flame develops from an ash then I consider that to be a bad sign. It means you have a rival. If you are burning two candles that are supposed to represent two different individuals, it is not a great omen if one of the candles burns away to the bottom much faster than the other does. That is often a sign that your timing is off in the relationship or it is not meant to be.

If the candle smoke wafts towards you it means that your prayer is more than likely to be answered. If it wafts away from you, then it means that you will need a great deal of perseverance in order to have your prayer answered. According to author Reverend Ray T. Marlborough If the smoke blows to your left “you are getting too emotionally involved with the situation and are in danger of subconsciously sabotaging your own prayer so that it will not be answered. If it blows to the right you will need to use your head rather than your emotions to pursue the situation.”

The way a candle unfolds or deconstructs as it melts can be very significant. It is wonderful when the candle seems to collapse outward or unfold like a flower. I consider that to be a sign that your wish will be granted. It represents possibilities and paths opening for you. A candle that is too lopsided in one direction or another, universally means that you are dealing with a situation that is way out of balance. If the flame is buried by the wax, to me that is often a sign that the wish will not be granted.

Reading wax drippings is a totally intuitive matter. It is similar to reading tea leaves. Some shapes are obvious, like the heart, which obviously represents love. Wax drippings may form in shapes that mean something very personal to you – a totem animal for example. A good general reference book to buy that tells you the meaning of a lot of shapes, common symbols and animals is Talismans and Amulets by Felicitas H. Nelson.

Perhaps one thing to remember when you purchase a candle is that you cannot read the drippings of a candle that is made of paraffin or that is marketed as “dripless”. Go for a candle made of messy natural wax or beeswax, as they are the ones that tend to reveal the most astral information.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Samantha Stevens

The Genesis of Computer Art-FORTRAN (Backus) a Computer Art Medium Creates a Mosaic Mona Lisa

Where did computer art, computer graphics and computer animation begin?

Written communication became sharable and pervasive once stone etchings were replaced with the mobility of paper and ink. Similarly once computer languages advanced from machine or assembly code to third generation computer languages, only then did computer output advance from simple alphanumerical (maybe mosaic) printouts to graphics and images with smooth curves and realism.

Computer graphical output got its humble start when alphanumeric characters hammered on TTY and line printers to represent X-Y graphs and even mosaic images. It was crude, but allowed for a more effective analysis of mathematical and scientific solutions. Computer programming languages like FORTRAN and BASIC made it easier to develop and program printers, plotters and CRT screens to display and print graphics and ultimately images.

The FORTRAN programming language – a personal and historic short review.

FORTRAN programming as an Art Medium?

So it was possible to create an alphanumeric printout picture of the famous Mona Lisa using FORTRAN print statements. This image of the Mona Lisa was done by printing and over-printing standard alphanumeric characters creating a mosaic art piece to form an image of that famous Leonardo da Vinci painting. Step back from this computer printout and you viewed a simple replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Accomplishing this rudimentary computer art would be hours and days of tedious work involving the following steps:

1) You would need to take a copy of the original image and a grid (mapping to the 133 character width of a standard computer printout page) on a piece of transparency.

2) Place the grid transparency on top of the image and then fill in the grid cells over the image with alphanumeric characters that will depict a mosaic of the original image.

3) Highlight those grid cells that will be overprinted (bold type) to create shade and texture matching the original image.

4) Now you take each line of the grid and code it using FORTRAN print statements.

5) Like a brush to canvas the computer printout image of Mona Lisa will take form after many days of coding.

For a completed version of this process and a resulting computer mosaic of the Mona Lisa check out the Pisaca Web Albums images at: http://picasaweb.google.com/carl.chesal/MonaLisaComputerArtFortran

The search has begun for access to an 80 column punch card reader.

The FORTRAN code for the Mona Lisa Mosaic is on original 90-column punch cards. Getting access to an 80-column card reader could facilitate moving the Mona Lisa FORTRAN code from its analog state to a digital version. Using an online editor, I could once again deploy the power of FORTRAN to print copies of ‘computer mosaic’ Mona Lisa. Then ‘Mosaic Mona’ would be available for the world to enjoy.

My infatuation with FORTRAN programming might have stemmed from the fact that both FORTRAN and I were coincidentally created in 1954. Thank you John Backus for FORTRAN.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Carl Chesal

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