Several years ago, I ruminated in this blog about the Asian objet’s d’art that are scattered throughout my house. They’re all now in my new house. Here’s an update:
I have half a dozen paintings, oils and water colors painted by South Vietnamese artists, that I bought over the years in Vietnam. On the desk in my office is a coffee tile, now cracked, mounted in wood, showing the character for dao (道) in Chinese or Đạo in Vietnamese, meaning “way” or “path”—the source of Taoism. A fish basket table stands beside my piano, and rounded wooden stools with marble tops are nearby. Two white ceramic stools three feet high, that I use as plant holders for large amaryllis plants, are on my deck. One is perforated with holes in leaf patterns. The other is three back-to-back elephant heads formed into a single column—it’s reportedly from Laos, the land that once worshipped a god in the form of an elephant with one head surrounded by three faces.
But the items that get the attention are my bufes, that is, “big ugly f**king elephants,” as the soldiers and Marines used to call them. These are three-feet tall ceramic figures of elephants with ornamental head dresses and decorated saddles. I have them in a variety of sizes and colors.
I bought the bufes in Vietnam and displayed them in the various villas I had with my family over the years in Saigon. I couldn’t resist talking about them in my novel, Last of the Annamese.
Continuing this post tomorrow, I’ll quote that scene from the book