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Big Head Monk

2009-02-19 22:47:50

I have this book and the cover is a wraparound of a Ming dynasty painting depicting a festival in Nanjing. And walking along the street on stilts is a big-head monk. I always used to wonder what he was--if he was, you know, not literally a monk with a humongous noggin, but a symbol for an enlightened monk or something. But no, it's just a dude in a mask.

The Monk Dance by itself is actually older than the Song dynasty, it goes back to the Tang. And the girl the monk flirts with in the folktale is really a willow tree spirit. Chew on that.