humans have been trying to live forever since well, forever but the pursuit of longevity has played an unusually notable role in china. the inherent societal respect for the elderly and the individual’s search for longevity or immortality resulted in a preoccupation with ‘long life’ that was reflected in art.
by the ming (1368-1644) and qing (1644-1911) dynasties, certain motifs and stories associated with long life had become regular themes in paintings, on clothes, and in gifts. among the themes are the character for longevity itself, immortals and legendary figures, motifs such as peaches associated with immortals & other motifs connected to long life through physical attributes or word play.
motifs were sometimes connected to long life through physical attributes. pines, through being evergreen and having a long lifespan, were associated with longevity. cranes were linked to the concept of long life through their role as messengers of the immortals; in addition, their white feathers could also bring to mind the white hair of the elderly and, when seen in pairs, could obliquely refer to an elderly couple. other motifs include the peanut plant (for its long root system and perceived healthfulness), long-tailed birds and ribbons.
there is a lot of mythology surrounding long life - immortals, part of the pantheons of chinese popular religion and daoism, were readily adopted as subjects in secular arts. for example, the god of longevity, shoulao, is often depicted as accompanied by a deer or riding on the back of a crane. xiwangmu, the queen mother of the west, featured in short stories about her celestial peach orchard and the peaches of immortality it grew. the peaches gifted immortality to anyone who ate them. she’d freely offer the peaches to gods and certain ‘deserving’ mortals. sometimes, however, peaches were stolen. among those was a han-dynasty official named dongfang suo who took them illegitimately and achieved mortality.
the peach, even without the physical presence of xiwangmu, had a strong link to longevity. the peach is seen in
decorative vases, drinking cups, and even objects such as ink tablets. patterns of blossoming peach branches and trees evoke not only the peach orchard of xiwangmu but also the story of the peach blossom spring, in which the ordinary but immortal populace of an ethereal village located in a grove of blossoming peach trees lives without being aware of the passage of time or the pressures of the world.
these motifs symbolic of longevity were often combined with patterns associated with other desirable conditions, such as happiness, wealth, and attaining high rank. for example, bats, symbolic of blessings, often occur among longevity motifs. decorative arts, garments and paintings with longevity themes provided a generalised sense of prosperity, and the motifs were sometimes mixed with other patterns to form pleasing works appropriate for many occasions.
immortality wasn’t just a personal pursuit though, it was something one often wished to gift to another, and i think that’s lovely.
• A Modern Wiwitale (2002)
• Slaying Rendez-vous (2003)
• Under The Same Realness (2004)
• Awakening (Of The Realness) (2005)
• Feel The Realness (2006)
• True Slaying (2007)
• Confluence Of Realness (2008)
• Share The (Wiwibloggs) Memes (2010)
• Feel Your Wiwi Beat (2011)
• Light Your Realness (2012)
• We Are Slaying (2013)
• #JoinUsSlaying (2014)
• Building Realness (2015)
• Slay Together (2016)
Tony’s flight, rejection, and erasure of the elemental connection of “Iron” to “Man” to “Tony Stark” lead him to safety only by embracing an elastic identity that incorporates what we would traditionally consider as the feminine… a performance of those human aspects of existence that are productive to sustaining society and cohabitation. Though Tony may return to the image of a modern man - flawed in many of the ways the past has shown through both his character and in traditionalist American males - his noble actions of humanism cannot be removed from the narrative of gender reconstruction and resilience.
It gets lonely when no one believes in you or what you say… But if you have even just one friend who’ll believe you… then you’ll be really happy. So, as two fellow outcasts who no one believes, why don’t we start by believing in each other as friends? See? Then all we have to do is get one friend, and another, and another… And someday we’ll have more friends than we can count! Just like those stars up there!