Song and Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders

Song and Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders

Song and Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders

Song and Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders

Synopsis

Stone Arch Readers take a well-known concept and revive it. This three-level reader series combines fresh story concepts and enticing art. Each level will have its own look and feel. Sight words and basic sentence structures will keep every level true to its purpose, and a parent letter will keep everyone on track. Stone Arch Readers bring the excitement back to learning to read.

Excerpt

The teak pillars that held up the eaves of the high temple roof outside had begun to bend and bow under its weight. Inside, the main hall of the temple was a dark forest of red lacquered pillars and handmade cotton streamers twirling below rafters that let in a few shafts of light and air. This temple, said to be the oldest still standing in the region, sat in an impoverished mountain village about an hour’s drive from China’s border with Burma. the crude wooden Buddha statue seated on the dais, partially hidden between the pillars, was painted a cheap and sunny yellow where a wealthier village would have painted him gold. a few bundles of dried flowers on the ground before the statue testified to both the piety and the poverty of the villagers. Shutters hung askew at a square window, and an empty wooden bowl lay on the sill, collecting dust.

This temple was far off the beaten track, and I’d found it through a series of chances. While conducting research into the oral storytelling of Tai Lües in this region of southwest China, Sipsongpanna, I’d come across a fasdnating Chinese essay describing the fine drawings in narrative Buddhist murals that depicted local legends. the article especially praised the old murals in temples in the west, near the Burmese border. I developed a thirst to see these and spent a week hopping buses along back roads, using the article as a guide. But though I spent long hours on local buses crammed between villagers and their bags of rice, and a few nights under the musty mosquito nets of old . . .

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