Voices from Russia

Saturday, 30 April 2016

30 April 2016. “Born in the Year of the Goat”

00 goat 090416

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The Chinese Zodiac moves on a 12-year cycle. According to Chinese belief, every year is associated with one of the Zodiac figures. Well, what Western years are equivalent to the Year of the Goat? Here’s a list:

  • 1907
  • 1919
  • 1931
  • 1943
  • 1955
  • 1967
  • 1979
  • 1991
  • 2003
  • 2015

The Chinese year begins in late January or early February and goes into January/February of the next Western year.

“Goat people” aren’t overly fond of sudden changes or impulsive decisions. Rather, they find comfort in repetition and well-laid plans, having a natural inclination towards this type of work and are skilled at pulling together actions and events in a manner that flows naturally. However, they’re protective about who they let into their inner circle. Not just anyone can get to know a “Goat person”. Rather, they must prove themselves steadily over time, through kind gestures and loving support, until they win final acceptance.

Neither Nicky nor I are “Goat people”… I’m a “Horse person”… I’m supposed to be flexible, but stubborn when it comes to ideas, but also incredibly patient when it comes to hearing out what other people have to say. They favour straightforward and blunt conversation, yet, they avoid starting up unnecessary trouble. “Horse people” are incredibly loyal friends and partners. Perhaps, it’s because first impressions have a lasting effect, or simply that they wish to do well by others. However, they’re consistently there when friends need them. They’re also quite capable of resolving conflict.

Nicky is a “Tiger person”… incredibly strong and stable, however, they sometimes hold too much inside and can find it difficult to let stress out. They tend to act without warning. From setting out to discover new things to getting lost in their thoughts and dreams, they rarely ever show exactly how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking. Chinese belief posits that Tiger people and Horse people are quite compatible.

This was a fun little romp, wasn’t it?

BMD

Saturday, 12 January 2013

12 January 2013. You Can’t Make Up Shit Like This… What Did They Make That Snake Sculpture Out Of in Chilly Yakutia?

00 dung Cobra Snake in Yakutia. 12.01.13

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00 dung Cobra Snake in Yakutia 02. 12.01.13

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His loathing of “capitalist pigs” led Piero Manzoni to can his faeces and put it up for sale as artwork in 1961. However, when 61-year-old Mikhail Bopposov created a giant cobra out of frozen cow dung, he did it for the kids. Speaking about his 400-kilo (882-pound) creation, the native of Yakutia in Siberia told RIA-Novosti by phone Friday, “I made it so that the kids could play around it and have some fun”. The snake… coiled, with head upright and hood widened… is on display in the village of Yolba, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of the republic’s capital, Yakutsk. Bopposov created it to mark the coming of the Year of the Snake, which begins 10 February according to the Chinese calendar.

Cattle-raising is widespread in Yolba, which has about 500 people. Bopposov works as a building manager at the village school, but his 17 cows provide him with an ample supply of dung, or “balbalkh” as it is in his native Yakut language. When asked about his artistic aspirations, Bopposov said modestly, “This isn’t sculpture, it’s just a piece of work that I did”. Bopposov first dabbled in the medium in 2008, when, inspired by his military service in a tank division, he created a tank out of dung. Encouraged by the reception from local children and adult villagers alike, he proceeded last winter to mark the Year of the Dragon by sculpting a winged serpent, also using cow manure.

Yolba villagers also sculpt from snow and ice… Bopposov and his son contributed a rabbit in the Year of the Hare in 2011… but the medium isn’t as convenient, as it’s hard to shape when temperatures fall far below freezing. January temperatures in Tattinsky Raion, where Yolba is located, hover between -42 and -44 degrees (-44 to -48 degrees Fahrenheit). Come spring, the dung sculptures are always dismantled, both out of aesthetic concerns and because “balbakh” is a valuable fertiliser sold for compost or used locally in the fields during Yakutia’s short summers. Carefully enunciating the words in his correct, but heavily accented, Russian, Bopposov said with a laugh, “Guess I’ll have to try to do a horse in 2014, if I can pull it off”.

12 January 2013

Aleksei Yeremenko

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20130111/178720059/Dung_Cobra_Sculpted_in_Russias_Coldest.html

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