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Mandarin Dotore


During the Tang dynasty (China 7th-10th century), it could be said that poetry literally ruled. Everyone, from craftsmen and merchants to princesses spent their evenings practising this art. In order to occupy any important post, candidates were required to have an in-depth knowledge of poetry, thus turning the mandarins into Enlightened Mandarins. Their love for nature and the human race as part of it make their poetry an instrument for expressing feelings and understanding the world around us.
Mandarin Dotore is a small sample from the golden era of poetry – the Tang Dynasty. It is a project involving Rafa Egiguren, Joserra Senperena and Jose Luis Zumeta. Firstly, Egiguren translated the poems directly from Chinese to Basque, then Senperena composed thirty small pieces inspired by the said poems and lastly, Zumeta, in addition to the design work, also did the illustrations that turn this book-album into a true masterpiece. The pages were made using traditional craft techniques, with an embossed iron title page and pull-out illustrations. The work is a limited edition, available only until stocks run out.

Egiguren recites the poems live, with Senperena playing his own compositions. And all this is set against the background of Zumeta’s illustrations and Chinese symbols. The work debuted during the Bilbao Poetry Week and the concert was attended by a good number of curious onlookers (as well as a few who had wandered in by mistake) who were all amazed at how much they enjoyed this recital of Chinese poetry from over ten centuries ago. An extremely pleasant surprise.

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