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It has been nearly one year since the world collectively ‘shut down’ and we stayed inside for days, weeks and then months.  Facemasks are seen in advertisements on television.  I have recovered from the shock and business has changed in ways that I welcome, it is easier for me.  I’m getting used to watching presentations, participating in curated tours, attending weddings and memorials, talking with heirs and estate executives, all virtually.  We see a cat strolling by, or the dog barks and a vase with flowers is usually in the screen too.  Putting a box under my laptop elevates the screen to a comfortable speaking position, especially for presentations.  I need to get faster in typing my questions for any Q&A session too.  The last virtual presentation I went to, concerned the physical transfer of art from seller to buyer, both nationally and internationally.  One of the six panelists was an appraiser. 

My last virtual consultation involved two hours inspecting, researching and valuing twenty-one Asian art properties that had been appraised forty years ago by the owner.   He inherited the pieces from his missionary parents and great-aunt the art work they returned with, carried home after living in  Southern China for ten years in 1920’s to 1930’s. 

As I have said often this year, my business has become more virtual, with written charitable contribution reports making the other half.  One week ago had a rare, in person, hands on appraisal.  The object was a 17th century Chinese sculpture   The owner, a gentleman, lived north of Belvedere and drove down a lovely, sunny day.  We sat outside on our deck, all of us masked, joined by my husband Arthur Leeper and discussed his inherited Ming dynasty cast bronze 16”h Buddhist Lohan, for one hour.  The etched floral pattern on the robe was visible from around the neck, falling along the cross-legged seated body, draping onto the descending platform to the edge.  He had quite thick, curly eyebrows and another curly set too close to eyes for sideburns, but perpendicular to the eyes.  The open slit eyes had outlined pupils, looking straight ahead at the viewer.  The expression was not scary but stern, and quite smooth and polished, resulting from years of devotional caressing.  After all, a lohan has attained nirvana.  The figure was finished all around, and meant to be viewed from all angles.  The size indicated it was probably in monastery use rather than individual dwelling.  The statue deserved a quality discussion.

And this is a blast from the past.  I started research of Edo firemen again after twenty five year rest.  My group of sashiko hand stitched gloves with different outline patterns, surface designs, and colors led to me to question the different professional skill layers.  There were over one thousand firemen in Edo during the mid 1800’s.  That is a lot of clothing produced, with distinctive styles.  Send me photos of your sashiko gloves.

Enjoy your day, Cynthia