Objects of Trust

 
 
 

 

Objects of Trust

This teardrop pendant-bottle that held a liquid pain-killer drug was a very popular apparel accessory of Chinese women. I am fortunate to have found it at Alan HAMILTON’s home. He collected Chinese stuff from the gold mining campsites and rivers near Arrowtown when he was young. He showed me a variety of objects, but I picked up this broken teardrop pendant-bottle, tucked away on his shelf. Before the arrival of the first Chinese woman in 1873, the pendant-bottle was likely to have been given to a man at the time he left home. The gold-plated name of the drug company Ma Pak Leung [馬百良] is vaguely apparent on the glass surface illuminating the faith of the giver. Mak Pak Leung was established in 1822 and is still in business today in Hong Kong and Canton.  For the Chinese, the teardrop pendant-bottle is an ‘object of trust’ [信物] that a woman would only give away to her husband or someone she has an intimate relationship with, to remind her man who is going far away, of his promises to return home, to reunion with his family one day. Object of trust is thus a symbol or representation of the woman being there with him and her cares for the man. Physically apart but emotionally closely connected.

In the other photograph, I put the English oath (with Chinese phonetic translation) on top of a pair of woman's sandals (an ‘object of trust’). The two objects were likely to have belonged to two unrelated families. That was my creative improvisation at the Lakes District Museum & Gallery in Arrowtown. This virtual scene of ‘swearing’ to the sandal is my subjective belief that the man always had wanted to return home — a collective ideological thought of the then Chinese society.

 

King Tong HO
2015


 

誓言和信物

这泪滴形状的玻璃吊坠, 是昔日中国妇女相当流行的饰物, 用以盛载一种止痛液。幸运地我在 Alan HAMILTON 的家发现它。Alan 从金鑛场及箭城附近河流, 搜寻及收藏昔日华工的物品。他给我看很多物品, 但我从架上角落, 看到这破了的玻璃瓶吊坠。制药厂名马百良, 创始于一八二二年, 现在仍在香港和广东营业。在一八七三年以前, 华人妇女未能同来紐西兰, 设想此物随着送给的男子而带来。在中国, 泪滴吊坠是一件信物, 是妇女送给丈夫或亲密关系的男子, 以提醒远离家乡的他, 实践回家团聚的承诺。信物, 是一个符号, 象征在家鄕的妇女对离家男子的关爱, 实质虽分离, 但感情上的连系。

另一照片, 一双妇女拖鞋, 上面放着写有英文宣誓字句的纸片(兼用中文注上发音)。把两件相信分别属于两个家庭的物品放在一起, 是我在 Lakes District Museum & Gallery 的即兴创作, 用虚拟景像:拖鞋和宣誓词, 带出华裔社会的传统思想—异乡人永远怀念着归乡。

 

何经棠

2015


 

誓言和信物

這淚滴形狀的玻璃吊墜,是昔日中國婦女相當流行的飾物,用以盛載一種止痛液。幸運地我在 Alan HAMILTON的家發現它。Alan 從金鑛場及箭城附近河流,搜尋及收藏昔日華工的物品。他給我看很多物品,但我從架上角落,看到這破了的玻璃瓶吊墜。製藥廠名馬百良,創始于一八二二年,現在仍在香港和廣東營業。在一八七三年以前,華人婦女未能同來紐西蘭,設想此物隨著送給的男子而帶來。在中國,淚滴吊墜是一件信物,是婦女送給丈夫或親密關係的男子,以提醒遠離家鄉的他,實踐回家團聚的承諾。信物,是一個符號,象徵在家鄕的婦女對離家男子的關愛,實質雖分離,但感情上的連繫。

另一照片, 一雙婦女拖鞋, 上面放著寫有英文宣誓字句的紙片(兼用中文註上發音)。把兩件相信分別屬於兩個家庭的物品放在一起,是我在 Lakes District Museum & Gallery的即興創作, 用虛擬景像:拖鞋和宣誓詞, 帶出華裔社會的傳統思想—異鄉人永遠懷念著歸鄉。

 

何經棠

2015