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Re: [BKARTS] Chinese Joss paper

I've heard the same concerns about using the pretty Joss Paper squares
Perhaps someone on this list of the traditional Asian persuasion could
comment on the propriety of using them for strictly decorative effects.

You rang?

Of course, I speak only for myself, so this is worth just one data

In the tradition I grew up with, the paper was burnt as money for the
dead, or used to construct representations of worldly goods and then
burnt for the dead. (These constructions can get quite elaborate, and
is really an art form in itself.) When I see it used outside of that
context, my reaction is usually 'I wonder if they know what the paper
means,' and I try to see if there's a relationship between the work and
the paper.

My general feeling is that, if there is a relationship between the work
and the paper choice (and I include all paper choices, not just the
joss paper), I think that adds to your work -- whether it's the texture
that's appropriate, or the meaning of the paper itself, it adds another
dimension and layer.

If there is no connection between the paper choice and the work, it is
still up to the artist to decide. Yes, you might offend someone, but
anything you do or say can offend someone.  I think you do need to
consider if the paper choice might become a distraction though.  But in
the end, for whatever reason you feel that it's really just the right
paper for the project, then it's the right paper for the project.

But a note of caution -- these papers weren't meant to last very long,
so I wouldn't use it for anything that you want to last.

Here's an anecdote -- I bought some joss paper a few years back when I
was visiting my parents in Taiwan. My mother was horrified and wanted
to know what I was going to do with it.  I said I might use it for some
art work, and she didn't tell me that I shouldn't, and she most
certainly would've said so if that was what she thought.

http://www.fingerstothebone.com, updated November 2003
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