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"Nie Pan" by Zhang Zhong Mei

Unwittingly I triggered quite a discussion when asking my friends to write the Chinese characters of Niè Pán.
As the words are the Chinese way to capture the sound of the Sanskrite word Nirvana, there is some latency in chosing the best matching characters.
For Pán, two similar characters are elegible. The first one has the character for Shí (stone)in its lower half, the second one for Mù (wood).(move the mouse over the picture above to see what I mean)
Zhang Zhong Mei himself used the "wooden" Pán, but my friends, asked to digitalize it, insisted it should be the "stone" Pán. They proved it by showing various webpages and online dictionaries. See e.g.

move the mouse over the picture for Pin Yin
Further discussion and the use of the authoritative Chinese Dictionary "Ci Hai"(literally an ocean of words and phrases) swung the verdict in favor of the "wooden" Pán.
All this is even more interesting, since I like to interpret it as a discussion about the "real" Shanghai = the "wooden" Shanghai as oposed to the "modern" Shanghai =the stone Shanghai.
And this tension is precisely depicted in the photo-collage of Zhang Zhong Mei.
Niè:
  1. <n> A kind of black ore. Recorded in ancient Chinese book "XUN ZI":
    put NIE in white sand, the sand turns black.
  2. <v> Dye black. From old book "Lun Yu".
    When it is purely white, NIE it but it does not turn black.
  3. <n> Block. From "Yi Li, Ji Xi Li":
    slaves NIE the toilet.
Niè Pán:
Translated from the pronounciation of "Nirvana".
Original meaning is extinguish all troubles or the state one reaches after all troubles have gone.
Also used as "Ban Niè Pán" from the word "Parinirvana", meaning complete detachment.
It is the heighest achievement in Buddhism, and stands for a higher spiritual level after rebirth. Buddhism says, the one who believes in it, after a long time cultivating according to the religious doctrine, can extinguish all troubles.
move the mouse over the pictures to see some indicators

Pán (stone)
  1. <n> Stacked mountain rocks. Big stone.
  2. <v> Linger on. Not leaving
Pán (wood)
  1. <n> Vessel to carry water.
  2. <n> The rolling part in front of thill.
  3. <v> Rolling, intwine
  4. <adj/adv> Happy

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"Dong Fang Minzhu" by Zhang Zhong Mei
Photo, 220x60, 22 July 2005
"Height of Life" by Zhang Zhong Mei
Photo, 164x37, November 2009

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"Optical Illusion" by Zhang Zhong Mei

Photo, 60x40

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"Our Flag" by Zhang Zhong Mei

Photo

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