A Painting and a Buddha

When I got to China, I kept hearing about Da Fen, The Artist’s Village. Essentially, the story goes that they (the artists working there) can copy any painting for super cheap and it’s usually excellent work. Flash to a year and a half later with me stumbling around Da Fen trying to find someone, anyone to copy a post card I bought in Istanbul. I wanted a large painting, something really bold. So my friends Robyn, Frank, Cody, and I randomly picked this hole in the wall place where it looked like they did good work… but who really knew?

We stood there in this tiny, rather warm hovel for about 5 minutes before we were even acknowledged. Awkward. That’s when the non-communicating/ communicating began – too funny.  The painter store dude actually knew someone who spoke a bit of English (over the phone) and I spoke a bit of Chinese… so we communicated on the most basic level.  We measured the length and width of what I wanted and found out the price was 100RMB. That’s about 15US. We walked out of there with the knowledge that this would be the biggest disaster or the greatest triumph in the world. The painting was delivered a day late, but that it got to me at all will remain one of the biggest mysteries of my time here in The ‘Kou.  But as soon as I opened it, I was the happiest person on Earth.  It’s amazing.  I am so in love with this painting.  Now I have to go get it framed… a big gaudy gold frame for about $30US.  Yes, I will miss that about China.

Then this past weekend, my good friend Hieu from San Diego had a short layover from Vietnam in Hong Kong so we ended up going to see the Big Buddha out on Lantau Island.  Amazing.  Next to the Buddha is The Pin Lo Monastery.  We lit some incense in the hopes that someone upstairs was listening, heard some monks chanting, and saw beautiful gold Buddhas smiling down upon us from their golden thrones.  It was really beautiful.  Plus, hanging out with Hieu was just good fun.  He really is one of the kindest people I know with a wicked sense of humor… loves it.  It was great to have a bit of home with me for a while.

Sorry there haven’t been many photos – I can’t access my blog at home (thanks PRC firewall) so this is it for now!  Enjoy!


  1. Wow – great stories, Claire! Miss you very much. See you very soon!

  2. Susan Wachowiak

    Amazing that the picture turned out so well. Maybe one of your happier Chinese memories, eh?

  3. Forensis

    Can wait to see YOU and the painting of the postcard – post pics when/if you can. Hope you’re having a good week. OX

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