12/17/2008

There was an Emperor of China...

There was an emperor of China almost two thousand years ago who became obsessed by the notion of mapping the land that he ruled. He had China re-created in miniature on an island which he had constructed at great expanse and incidentally, a certain amount of loss of life (for the waters were deep and cold) in a lake in the imperial estates. On this island each mountain was become a molehill, and each river the smallest rivulet. It took fully an hour for the emperor to walk around the perimeter of his island.
...The emperor was contented by this, for the better part of a year, and then he noticed within himself a growing dissatisfaction with his island, and he began, in the time before he slept, to plan another map, fully one one-hundredth the size of his dominions. Every hut and house and hall, every tree and hill and beast would be reproduced at one one-hundredth of its height. ...his minister of the right hand remonstrated with him one night, as they walked in the palace gardens, under a huge golden moon.
"You must know, Imperial Majesty," said the minister of the right hand, "that what you intend is..."
..."Impossible?" asked the emperor, mildly. It is when emperors and kings are at their mildest that they are at their most dangerous.
..."if I were to listen to you and to forget my map world, to leave it unconsummated, it would haunt my world and my mind, and it would spoil the taste of the food on my tongue and of the wine in my mouth."
And then he paused. Far away in the gardens they could hear the sound of a nightingale. "But this map land," confided the emperor, "is still only the beginning. For even as it is being constructed, I shall already be pining for and planning my masterpiece."
"And what would that be?" asked the minister of the right hand, mildly.
"A map," said the emperor, "of the Imperial Dominions in which each house shall be represented by a life-sized house, every mountain shall be depicted by a mountain, every tree by a tree of the same size and type, every river by a river, and every man by a man."
-Neil Gaiman, "Fragile Things"

1 comment:

M. Lauritano said...

Neat Quote. It's always nice to see you upload another sketchbook page. I hope you're doing well-we're all still waiting (in Boston) for the world to discover the genius of Brian Elig. Anyhow, happy holidays ol' studio mate.

~Mike