During the last week we travelled to Taiwan, as it is relatively close to Okinawa. The only hitch was that we had to go back to Tokyo, then Narita, rather than flying directly from Okinawa. 

On our first day in Taiwan we headed off to the Taroko National Park and the Gorge, famous for its spectacular scenery and the marble rocks through which the Liwu River has cut its path.

This gateway marks the entrance to the Gorge. It is so steep sided that in many places the road passes through tunnels or clings to the sides of precipitous cliffs.

This pathway was cut into the cliff face to gain access to the hinterland, about 100 years ago, a time when Taiwan was part of the Japanese Empire. Now the pathway is part of a walking trail above the Shakadang River.

We stayed in a cabin at the Leader Village Hotel Taroko, which was remarkable for the number of wooden sculptures around the grounds. I thought this figure created from 'found' branches was quite delightful. This made me think about sculptural work in the Sogetsu School tradition, which however is always abstract rather than figurative.

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I would now like to return to a few other rather striking works from the Exhibition in Okinawa.

This first, large work, is by Shiho Yoshida, the Head Mistress of the Ryukyu Omoro School. The wall piece is very eye-catching. It is made from short tripods cut from the branching sections of mitsumata  (edgeworthia chrysantha). These have been dyed pink and arranged in concentric circles, asymmetrically placed on a circular board. They are also graded in size. In front of this is placed a free-style arrangement using a variety of materials.

The second work is a seika arrangement of considerable technical skill.  The really challenging aspect of the arrangement is that all the stems are held within the finger grip of a pair of hasami (Japanese flower scissors). It was created by Midori Murayama of the Koryu Shoseikai School, Tokyo.

Lastly is a work by Tomoko Morishita, of the Sogetsu School and from Okinawa. This playful work has a vase floating above the table top. To me it seems to be pouring its contents out. The botanical materials are sansevieria, arum lilies, dancing lady orchid and gypsophila.

Greetings from Christopher
29th April 2017

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