Wednesday, January 26, 2011

China Chronicles Two: Old Hong Kong Street Scene Painting

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When I saw this oil painting displayed in one of the stalls at the Mongkok night market, it reminded me so much of W. Somerset Maugham’s Hong Kong in The Painted Veil that I could not resist buying it.

But the magician who built worked swiftly and now a fragment of colored wall crowned the bastion; in a moment, out of the mist, looming vastly and touched here and there but a yellow ray of sun, there was seen a cluster of green and yellow roofs. Huge they seemed and you could make out no pattern; the order, if order there was, escaped you; wayward and extravagant, but of an unimaginable richness. This was no fortress, nor a temple, but the magic place of some emperor of the gods where no man might enter. It was too airy, fantastic, and unsubstantial to be the work of human hands; it was the fabric of a dream. (W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil, 1925)


witsandnuts said...

And one of the paintings hanging on my living room is an image of (Singapore) Chinatown. :)

Angeli said...

isn't it nice that whenever we look at them these paintings will always remind us of the places we've been? :)

Anonymous said...

i love the painting but who is somerset maugham?

Angeli said...

it's good you can't see my eyes rolling right now. hahahah

Loree said...

Isn't it amazing how a painting can take us right back to a paragraph in a book? I love the paragraph from The Painted Veil that you shared.

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