family portrait – Baron Viktor Magnus Born
Dazu County, 162 km northwest of Chongqing, is very popular for its stone carving Buddha Statues – more than100 locations and 100,000 statues. These sculptures are a mixture of Buddhism. Taoism and Confucianism. Two of the locations are the most noted: Beishan (Northern Hill) and Baodingshan (Treasured Peak Mountain), listed by UNESCO (UN Education, Science and Culture Organization) in 1999 as ” the World Cultural Heritage ” . The Northern Hill is a km away in the Northwest of the city of Dazu. The first statue was created in late Tang Dynasty (9 century), with more than 10,000 statues. Baodingshan (Treasure Peak Mountain) is 15 km to the Northeast of the city, first sculpted in South Song Dynasty (1179-1249). Centered at Dafowan (Grand Buddha Bay), nearly 10,000 Buddha statues are displayed along a 400 long U shape hill ridge, like a great picture roll unfolding before your eyes! The sculptures belongs to the later period of the grotto arts and indicates the rise of grotto carving in Sichuan after its decline in north China. Among these sculptures, you can see the 31 meter-high Nirvana of Sakyamuni, the 88 square meters ” Thousand-Handed Avalokitesvara ” and the 7 meter-high ” Huayan Three Buddhist Images ” as well as the ordinary secular sculptures like ” the girl flute-player ” , ” the girl chicken-raiser ” and so on. All these stone sculptures are well structured and vividly made.
The main part of Panagia Angeloktisti, which literally means “Our Lady built by the angels” in Greek, dates from the 11th century and still serves as a working church for the busy village. During our visit, locals from various walks of life – an old lady dressed head to toe in black, a construction worker from the building site down the road and a dentist from across the street taking a break from drilling teeth – all stopped in to offer up a quick prayer and kiss an icon or two. It’s nice to see such a venerable old building still in active use.
The church was built on and around the remains of a 6th century Christian basilica, the apse of which – and the fabulous mosaic of the Virgin Mary which serves as its stunning centerpiece – still survive today. Intriguingly, the mosaic was only “discovered” in 1952 during renovations. The original construction has clearly been added to and sympathetically restored in parts, and the standard is such that you can hardly differentiate between the ancient and the relatively new.
The Art Gallery of Alberta was established in 1924 as the Edmonton Museum of Arts. The museum occupied various sites before moving in 1952 to the Richard Secord House, a turn-of-the-century mansion overlooking the North Saskatchewan River Valley, and in 1956 it officially changed its name to the Edmonton Art Gallery. In 2005 it was renamed the Art Gallery of Alberta.
Hopes of constructing a new building for the gallery’s growing collection came to fruition in 1962 when Mrs. A.E. Condell bequeathed funds for a new gallery in the name of her son, Arthur Blow Condell. Architects Donald G. Bittorf and B. James Wensley were contracted to design the building, and in April 1969 the new home of the Edmonton Art Gallery, sited in the centre of the city on Sir Winston Churchill Square, was opened to the public. The building, which featured expansive exhibition, storage and educational facilities, was later enlarged when a new wing was added in 1977 to replace the exterior courtyard.
The Gallery moved into a major new phase of its history in 2005 when, after an international architectural competition, Los Angeles-based Randall Stout Architects, Inc was selected to design a new building for the AGA to replace the old structure on Sir Winston Churchill Square. The new building opened on 31 Jan 2010, with a total area of nearly 8000 sq m, of which nearly 3000 sq m is devoted to climate-controlled exhibition space. With a dramatic exterior design that has attracted national attention, the building accommodates a restaurant and espresso bar, a gallery shop, and a 150-seat theatre along with an expanded education facility, known as the Singhmar Centre for Art Education.
Minsk is the capital and largest city in Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers.
The earliest references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was a provincial city within the principality of Polotsk. In 1242, Minsk became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and it received its town privileges in 1499. From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodship in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was annexed by Russia in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919–1991, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.