los belenes del 1 de octubre

My elder brother and I have since time immemorial called belenes (Spanish plural of belén, the Spanish version of the traditional Christmas creche / crib) the rather caricaturesque decorative installations ancestrally made in China in all sorts of occassions. But I have lived in China for more than twenty years now, and the genre has truly evolved, at least here in Peking, where Chinese belenes, even if still retaining their somewhat naive or infantil general flavour, have formally become more and more sophisticated, particularly since years ago some of them started to substitute plastic and metal for increasingly complex and ingenious floral arrangements. And, as modern day superb mature examples of the classical Chinese belenes, here are the ones celebrating this years’s Chinese National Day, here in my neighbourhood. Weather was beautiful and the festive, relaxed ambience reigned supreme!:

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