Category Archives: Mind Philosophy 艺门

The Fascinating Pink 粉红魅力

Pink is unlikely the first colour that comes to mind as far as natural lakes are concerned, but Mother Earth does her wonders again. Not only one but in fact, there are quite a few dazzling pink-coloured lakes in Australia.

Unusual but definitely mesmerizing, the causes of this natural phenomenon of having the pinky-touch in the lake water can be varied, but the most common explanation is due to the existence of algae and salt. Depending on seasons and conditions, the colours can sometimes be more vibrant and bolder.

There is however, a forever-pink lake in Western Australia that does not go out of colour. Lake Hillier is a natural wonder on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago off the coast of Esperance.

Lake Hillier

The lake is about 600 meters in length, and is surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paperbark and Eucalyptus trees. A narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separates it from the blue Southern Ocean.

No-one fully understands why the lake is pink. Scientists speculate that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts. Its pink colour is less accentuated when viewed from the surface but it is very prominent from above. 

The Lake Hillier was first discovered in 1802 by explorer Matthew Flinders who took samples from the lake and mentioned its existence in his journal.

The Pink Lake (Spencer Lake)

There are at least 3 pink lakes in Western Australia, but Spencer Lake is the only one that has been named as Pink Lake. However, it has not been ‘pink’ for quite a while, which is why the Pink Lake is often mistaken as Lake Hillier, even though they are located in two different places.

The Pink Lake is just 7 kilometers from the town of Esperance. Under the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water. The lake has not turned pink for a while due to the climate.

Hutt Lagoon

From bright bubblegum pink to occasionally even red, the waters of Hutt Lagoon can be an extraordinary sight on the drive between Port Gregory and Kalbarri. The lake is believed to boast a pink hue created by the presence of carotenoid-producing algae, Dunaliella salina.

The lagoon is about 70 square kilometers with most of it lying a few meters below sea level. It is separated from the Indian Ocean by a beach barrier ridge and barrier dune system. 

Occasionally Pink 

Lake Eyre, South Australia

Lake Eyre is a dry expanse of shimmering salt in the South Australian Outback, in a basin so large that it crosses the borders of three states. As the lake dries up and the water evaporates, its salinity increases and it often appears to turn pink. This is in fact caused by a pigment found within an algae species that lives in the lake.

Pink Lake, Meningie – South Australia

On the road between Tailem Bend and Meningie is the Pink Lake. These pink lakes are quite common in dryer areas and are coloured by the presence of algae known as beta carotene in the waters.

Quairading Pink Lake, Western Australia

At certain times of the year, one side of the lake becomes dark pink, while the other side remains a light pink colour. During summer, evaporation causes the water level to drop and salt builds up on the banks and trees. When the water returns, the salt causes the pink colour.

Westgate Park’s lake, Victoria

Westgate Park’s Salt Lake turned pink in response to very high salt levels, high temperatures, sunlight and lack of rainfall. Algae growing in the salt crust at the bottom of the lake produces the red pigment (beta carotene) as part of its photosynthesis process and in response to the extremely high salt levels.

Murray-Sunset National Park, Victoria

There are four salt lakes in the park- Lake Crosbie, Lake Becking, Lake Kenyon and Lake Hardy. The lakes’ waters are actually crystal clear and the beds of the four lakes are made up of solid salt. However, it is the red algae (Dunaliella salina), which grows in the water that gives the lakes their pink hue. 

粉红色,绝不会是你对湖泊的第一个颜色联想,但偏偏大地之母就爱不靠谱的给我们带来惊喜,粉红湖就如此惊艳登场,而且在澳洲不仅有一个粉红湖,散落各地的粉红湖等着旅人来寻宝呢!

其实这粉红湖有各种因素导致蓝变红,其中最常见的情况是因藻类及盐所造成,同时气候及季节的变化也会使粉红湖湖水的色泽产生变化。

至于在澳洲的粉红湖中就以西澳的希利尔湖最为有名,而且将粉红进行到底,一年四季都粉红,是埃斯佩兰斯海岸外的一道奇观,处于洛切切群岛中最大的岛屿─中央岛。

希利尔湖
这粉红湖长达600公尺,并由白千层及桉树茂密的林地及沙滩环绕着,而湖与海之间仅相隔着一座狭长的沙丘带。

这湖水染红的导因至今无人能解,而根据科学家推测,可能源自盐壳中的细菌所制造出的色素。然而,站在湖旁观色,这粉红湖的水色较淡,但只要从上方俯瞰,这却是不折不扣的粉红湖。

希利尔湖是于1802年被探险家马修费莲达发现,当时他还取了湖水样本,并记截于其探险日志中。

粉红湖(Spencer Lake)
在西澳有至少3座粉红湖,但只有此湖被命名为粉红湖。不过,这湖水已久未粉红,所以一提起粉红湖,经常被误会为是希利尔湖,但事实是,这是两座在完全不同地方的湖泊。

粉红湖距离埃斯佩兰斯市7公里,如果天作美,湖水会因密集的藻类变得粉红,但这老天就是不作美,导致粉红湖久未露出真本色了。

赫特潟湖
这湖水偶而是艳丽的粉红,有时也会是烈日当红。只要途经格雷戈里小镇及卡尔巴里之间,就不难发现这一道美景。一般相信这湖水因杜氏盐藻产生的类胡萝卜素而染红。这潟湖面积达70平方公里,与印度洋之间仅由山岭及沙丘相隔。

偶而粉红

艾尔湖,南澳
艾尔湖地区是澳洲最干旱、最低的地理点,因横跨3州,也是澳洲最大的咸水湖。当湖水蒸发,盐度增加之际,便会出现粉红色的结晶,而这也是藻类的杰作。

梅宁吉粉红湖,南澳
在泰勒姆本德及梅宁吉之间有一座粉红湖,也因藻类产生的胡萝卜素而导致较干燥处变红。

Quairading粉红湖,西澳
一年内在固定的时段,一边的湖水呈深红而另一边则是粉红色,这是因为湖水蒸发时,在湖边及树上残留的盐份,会在湖水恢复时呈粉红色。

西门公园的湖泊,维多利亚
因高盐、高温、烈日及缺雨染红了西门公园的湖泊。这是因为湖中的藻类因光合作用所产生的胡萝卜素遇上高盐而变色。

穆累-日落国家公园,维多利亚
在这国家公园内有4座咸水湖,即Crosbie、Becking、Kenyon及Hardy湖,虽然湖水清澈,但因湖底的高盐成份遇上红藻而让湖水看似有点粉红。

Bayan-Ölgii Mongolia 大漠煙光

Text & image(s) courtesy of  Lee Han Wei

For thousands of years, nomadic tribes in Mongolia faced countless armed conflicts with their surrounding countries including the majority Han Chinese in China mainland.

The boundless Mongolian steppe became the most important frontier defence of the Han Chinese Government. During the Tang and Song Dynasty, more than a thousand years ago, many government officials in the frontier were literature scholars capable of creating great everlasting poems. In their long countless days in the steppe, these Chinese scholars wrote many timeless poems that have had long lasting effects on Chinese literature and also Chinese-Japanese ink wash paintings. The famous Wang Wei (699–759) of Tang dynasty is one of them who wrote poems that described the Mongolian land: “A smoke hangs straight on the desert vast and the sun sits round on the endless river.

While travelling on the ancient exotic route of Mongolia, one should bring along a book of Tang-Song poems. “Boundless sky is so blue, the wilderness seems boundless too. Rippling through the pastures, north winds blow; the grass bends low, cattle and sheep to show.” The poem itself is a collection of light and shadow, a true photography album.

数千年来,蒙古各地的游牧民族和周边国家有过无数次的武装冲突,漠北一望无际的茫茫草原,也成了历来汉族王朝的边防要务。

唐宋时期,当时被发配到北方大漠的汉族官吏,有为数不少才华洋溢的文人。漠北万里风霜,有绮丽雄壮的风景,草原山丘光暗错落, 显隐交杂,在文人笔下更显得气势磅礡。

悠悠岁月里,多愁善感的文人在大漠草原写下了许多流传千古的诗词,后世称之「边塞诗」。信手拈来,如唐代王维(692年-761年)的《使至塞上》「大漠孤烟直,长河落日圆」;李白(701年-762年)《关山月》「明月出天山,苍茫云海间」;鲜卑族的民歌「天苍苍,野茫茫。风吹草低见牛羊」;乃至近代的毛泽东的诗词《沁园春》「北国风光,千里冰封,万里雪飘」。千余年来诗人的边塞吟咏都是别致醉人大漠摄影集。

游走漠北时记得带上一册唐宋诗集,一边走一边读,犹如赴一趟与唐宋诗人分享视觉和心灵的享宴。

The Big Business of Forging in Art and Antique 锻造艺术与古物的大事业

by CHT

When auction houses are hammering away incredible prices on arts and antiques, it is normal that galleries would take advantage of the situation and tag items with a higher price. Hence, making owners with the knowledge of the product demand high or sometimes unreasonable premiums. Eventually, this circle will lead to a spike of fakes, imitations and forgeries. In modern technology today, news travels at high speed through the internet and social media world. It is not difficult for owners, collectors, sellers and even criminals to know what is of high demand in the current market. News like an 18th century Chinese vase found in a shoebox in an attic in France that sold for USD 19 million caused a big commotion among collectors, motivating them to embark on a hunt for such pieces hoping to have the same luck.

An 18th century Chinese vase found in a shoebox in an attic in France sold for 16.2 million euros (£14.3 million) at auction in Paris

Image courtesy of news.ro

In a simple economical and business environment, demand dictates supply. What if the demand for genuine pieces are high but there is not enough supply? Ultimately, this will require an alternate source of supply to satisfy the market. Imitations or replicas of old pieces are thus produced and sold as new pieces for those who only seek nice affordable pieces for decoration purposes. However, unethical dealers would produce fakes and pass them off as genuine pieces with an intention to cheat the buyer. In short, replicas are legal, but if one tries to pass off a new piece as an antique it is considered a criminal offense. 

The business of fake antique pieces is actually one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. In 2014, a report by Switzerland’s Fine Art Expert Institute (FAEI) stated that at least half of the artwork being circulated in the market is fake. Al Jazeera reported in 2015 the fact that buyers from China spent more than USD 5.5 billion on Chinese art and antiques in 2014, yet Sotheby’s Asian art expert, Nicolas Chow, said that: “Virtually 99.9% of what you see in the art world is wrong.” This alone poses as a rather alarming issue. Stories of collectors having porcelain makers in Jingdezhen use their genuine antique pieces as reference to duplicate high quality copies which they then place in smaller auction houses in America or Europe ‘claiming provenance’ is also a shock to hear. Some of the most recent cases in 2018 include incidents such as when the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent was found exhibiting 26 fake works by Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky and the Telegraph’s report on how there was only one genuine work of Amedeo Modigliani among a collection of 21 fake paintings that were on exhibition at Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale.

The fake market is now so common across the world that there is actually a museum exhibiting fakes. The Museum of Art Fakes in Vienna that opened in 2005 invited some of the master art forgers to exhibit their creations. Among them were German artist, Edgar Mrugalla, a self taught expert in copying works of Rembrandt, Picasso and Renoir. He has painted more than 3500 pieces by the time he was 65, jailed and eventually released to work for authorities to help uncover dubious artworks. On the other side of the continent, there is a famous art village called Dafen in China that produced an estimate 60% of the world’s oil paintings a few years back. People that worked in the studios and galleries were like art processors with jobs of ‘xeroxing’ famous works of artists no matter dead or alive as long as there were people in demand of the art piece. However, the Chinese government eventually intervened because cheap fakes were no longer viable in the rapid rising cost and e-commerce environment and original works were encouraged. This has however forced many art forgers to take higher risks to forge more expensive pieces in order to survive.

Although authorities around the world are clamping down on syndicates and master forgers in the art field, one must understand that to do so it is extremely difficult due to the efficiency of high tech scanners and printing machines these days. The similarity of the fake piece to the original piece is so precise that some experts hesitate on the originality of the piece and would play safe by commenting things like: “… to my best knowledge but the final decision still lies with the purchaser.” Every involved party is trying their best to keep a distance from such situations to prevent the possibility of being sued for negligence. 

All in all, the business of forgery is a multi billion business in the world today. If one does not have the proper knowledge, financial means and fears being cheated on, it is highly advisable to stay away from becoming a collector.