Hagia Sophia is a Mosque (Again)

It was reported last week that Turkey’s Council of State had granted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to open the Hagia Sophia museum to Muslim prayer. It is sad to see the venerable structure, long a symbol of peaceful religious coexistence, being converted into a working mosque for what appears to be political reasons.

Built in the year 537 as an Orthodox Christian cathedral by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia was converted to an imperial mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. But in 1934, the cabinet of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk decreed that it be turned into a museum. It subsequently became a Unesco World Heritage site much beloved by both local and foreign tourists for the awe-inspiring scale and beauty of its domed structure, along with its religious iconography and historical significance.

Because Hagia Sophia already has a remarkable record for enduring natural and artificially imposed disasters, there is hope. Hagia Sofia’s future is yet to be written.

Boeing Red Barn

In 1910, William E. Boeing bought a failing wooden boat shipyard situated on the Duwamish River for $10. The purchase included this building, the Red Barn, which first housed the operations of Pacific Aero Products and later the Boeing Aircraft Company. The Red Barn subsequently served as Boeing’s world headquarters from 1917 to 1929.

In 1975, the Red Barn was barged up river two miles and trucked to its present location, around which the current Museum of Flight was constructed.

Georgetown Brewing

Roger Bialous and Manny Chao began brewing test batches of pale ales in 2002 and their Georgetown Brewing Company delivered the first kegs of their namesake Manny’s Pale Ale in 2003. Their brewery was first housed in the old Seattle Brewing and Malting building in, of course, the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. In 2012, they moved to new headquarters, brewery, and warehouse on nearby Denver Avenue South (shown above). A taproom offering 24 taps opened recently but is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. While Georgetown Brewing first produced draft-only beers, they now can a few select brews – Manny’s Pale Ale, Lucille IPA, Roger’s Pilsner, and my personal favorite, Bodhizafa IPA.

Ching Ming Festival

A brief interruption before I post the latter stages of my drawing of the Nikon FE2 SLR to honor the Chinese tradition of Qingming or Ching Ming (清明 – Tomb Sweeping Festival), which has been observed for more than 2500 years and falls this year on Saturday, April 4th. It is a time for Han Chinese to honor their ancestors, usually by visiting, cleaning, and bringing offerings to the tombs of the departed. In lieu of this, I am posting rubbings of the tombstones of my paternal grandparents, accompanied by their English translations.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su is a walled Chinese garden that occupies an entire city block in Portland, Oregon. Designed by Kuang Zhen, it was completed in 1999–2000 by Chinese artisans from Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, using traditional materials and techniques.

The name Lan Su is taken from parts of the names of the sister cities of Portland and Suzhou. The name itself can be interpreted as the Garden of Awakening Orchids.

The view above focuses on the Moon Locking Pavilion, whose name refers to when the reflection of the moon can be seen in the center of the lake, locked in or framed by the shadow of the pavilion. To the left, in the background, is the Painted Boat in Misty Rain pavilion, representing the friendship that sailed from Suzhou and docked in Portland.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Lunar New Year 2020, the Year of the Rat, begins on January 25, 2020 and lasts until February 11, 2021. The Rat, the first animal of the Chinese Zodiac, is said to be clever and resourceful with a keen vision for solving problems. Those born under this sign tend to be ambitious, energetic, thoughtful, and charming. Among these are William Shakespeare, Rosa Parks, Buddy Holly, and Pope Francis, as well as three U.S. presidents—Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. Kung Hee Fat Choy!

Asian Art Museum

This sparse drawing attempts to convey this elegant Art Moderne building designed by Carl F. Gould, a University of Washington professor of architecture and partner in the firm of Bebb and Gould. Located in Volunteer Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, it served as the Seattle Art Museum from 1933 until 1991, when a new SAM designed by Robert Venturi of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates was completed in downtown Seattle. The building was subsequently renovated and reopened in 1994 as the Asian Art Museum. The building is a designated Seattle landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

*The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that they are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.