Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chinese Jades

It was in around 600 BC that a man called Bian He discovered a large piece of jade in the hills of the kingdom of Chu. Excited by this discovery he rushed down to present it to the ruler, unfortunately for Bian He the King failed to recognize this plain uncut rock as being jade and ordered that Bian He have his legs cut off. Only years later was the jade recognized for what it was. Some eight hundred years after its discovery the First Emperor had that jade made into his Imperial Seal.

India's Plan to Counter China

India has a long border with China. To be precise the border is 4057 km long and is not yet delineated. The border is a legacy of the British rule and certain parts like Arunachal Pradesh are not recognized by China as a part of India. They claim it as part of Tibet.

To offset this Chinese claim particularly in the East the Indian Army has carried out a revamp in strategy and organization to ensure that a repetition of the 1962 debacle does not take place. In the West the Chinese have already occupied Aksai Chin in Ladakh an area of 30,000 square miles and as such have no further claims. India despite all the noise has tacitly accepted Chinese occupation of Aksai Chin and there are no plans to recover it from China's grip. But the eastern border is a different kettle of fish and with the Chinese claim on Arunachal Pradesh the situation is volatile. The Chinese claim Arunachal Pradesh as they maintain that in 4000 years of Indian History it was never a part of India, but was part of the Tibetan empire.

India has inherited the border from the British and as a successor state claims Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India. The line of control in the east thus needs to be beefed up to prevent the Chinese from creating any incident.

New Divisions and Proactive Approach
The Army has now formulated a 'proactive approach' against China so as to be able to react in the quickest time possible. The Indian army has thus been building up its offensive capability and factoring a worst case scenario where India could be faced with a two front war with both China and Pakistan.

The Army has now raised two more mountain divisions for operations in the east. This involves a troop strength of over 35,000 with its head quarters at Zakama (Nagaland) and Misamari, close to Tezpur in Assam. Misamari also has an excellent airfield and I have operated from there. In addition a local brigade of Arunachal Scouts is raised, which is a great help as these are locals who know the topography of the East very well.

Renewable Energy in China

Renewable energy or power is helping China to complete its economic transformation and accomplish energy security. China quickly has shifted along the way of renewable energy advancement. In 2007, about 17 percent of China's electrical power originated from renewable sources, headed by the earth's biggest number of hydroelectric generators. In 2009, China had a total set up capacity of hydropower of 197 GW. Higher numbers of expense in renewable energy systems and installations as well as technology improvements have increased significantly during the entire 2000s in China. Expenditure in renewable has become part of China's economic stimulus system. Experts from Tsinghua University and Harvard University have discovered that by 2030 China could fulfill all of its electrical power needs from wind energy. Renewable energy in China indeed looks promising.

Wind power

China has the greatest wind resources on earth (three quarters of the resources are offshore). As of 2008, China is the 4th biggest developer of wind energy, (next to the United States, Germany, and Spain). Wind energy in China accounted for 12.2 GW of electrical power producing capacity towards the end of 2008. China had total set up capacity of wind power as much as 26 GW in 2009. The country has recognized wind energy as a crucial development part of the nation's economy. It has become the earth's biggest producer of wind turbines, overtaking Germany, Denmark, United States and Spain.

The History of Chinese Fans

The earliest surviving example of a fan from China is from a tomb in Hubei and dates to the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC).

Most of the earliest fans that have been discovered have been from the old Kingdom of Chu where the fan seems to have been more firmly embedded into the culture than anywhere else. These Chu fans come in two categories; those up to two meters in length and designed to be wielded by servants, and those around 10 to 12 inches in length and are intended for personal use.

The first written record of fan appears in the Han Dynasty and coincidently is written on a fan. The Han Dynasty also sees the poem 'Ode to Bamboo Fans' by Ba Gu. At this time in history fans could be made from bamboo, ivory or wood - feather fans were particularly popular in Eastern China.

However it is in the Song Dynasty (960 to 1127) that the fan really comes into its own as an object of both art and culture. While the first person to have painted on a fan was supposedly Wang Xizhi in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, it is in the reign of Song Emperor Huizong that the Imperial Painting Academy was established and the favoured medium was to paint on fans. At first most of the images painted on fans were landscapes but as the Dynasty went on then they began to experiments and paint scenes from nature - eventually the fan became a popular medium for calligraphy and poetry.

It was in 988 that the first 'folding fans' come to China. They are recorded as coming from Japan as a part of a tribute being sent to the Emperor. They did not immediately take off in China as they were seen as something for the lower classes; this was predominantly a consequence of the fact that they could not be painted in the same way as the large fixed fans and they did not require servants to use them so did not have the same social cachet.