Sunday, November 28, 2010

Antique Town Dongfu 東埠

In fall 2010, I went to China for a visit again. This was the 3rd time I visited China, and I have became quite familiar with cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Both my fiance and I couldn't really stand the noise, crowded space, and pollution in big cities for very long; therefore, we decided well in advance that we would head to the country side for an escape.

It was in the small antique town called Dongfu 東埠 in Jiangxi 江西 we met one of the most memorable people in our trip.

Dongfu used to be one of the busiest cities in the Jingdezhen 景德鎮 area. It was the main port city where porcelains made in Jingdezhen began their journeys to the rest of the world. Dongfu is next to Kaolin 高嶺, the area famed for its natural material used in making porcelain clay. With modernization of transportation, today's Dongfu has long losted its shine and has been forgotten by the rest of the world.

Granny Sun lives in Dongfu 75% of her life so far. She is an transplant from Shanghai in the 1950's. When we arrived Dongfu it was obvious to the villagers that we came from a place nowhere near Dongfu. Granny was very excited when she saw us. An outsider herself, she felt akin to us who are truly outsiders. She volunteered herself as a tour guide for the day and took us around town. She spoke to me in Shanghainese which I can only comprehend partially. I understood her desire of speaking to me in her native togue because she is lonely most time. Her children are all married and moved out, and she is the only person who stayed in her century old house next to the 昌江.

I told Granny I was interested in picking up porcelain shards in this area if I could, and it was one of my goals in this trip. After Granny heard my wish, she gestured us to follow her to the kitchen. In her antique cupboard, she showed us two tiny tea cups with marks of age. She dug them out from her garden where she grows produce for herself. I admired the cups for a moment and gave them back to Granny. To my surprise, Granny refused to take them back and insisted to give them away to us. I tried my best to either give the cups back or pay for the cups. Again Granny refused to take my money or the cups. In the end, I was able to give Granny a zitan 紫檀 purple sandle wood rosary to her as a momento. I still think about Granny from time and time and wonder if she is doing fine. I wonder if I would see her again. If you ever get a chance visiting Dongfu, please say 'hi' to her for me!

P.S I will put the photo fo the two cups up asap!