Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flashes at the End of the Sky (3)

My Personal Khotan on the Silk Road

The Desert

To many people who have never been there or who have only tasted it a little, the desert can be romantic. To most people who live next to it, it can be annoying or dangerous. But if you truly understand it, and therefore deeply love it, it is beautiful and sublime. Classical Chinese poems about the western frontier always describe the desert as vast, barren, harsh and lonely, a place where Chinese soldiers fought against “barbarians,” a place to which good guys were exiled. Only when heroism, loyalty, life and death were involved with the vastness, extreme hardships and loneliness did the poems raise the desert to the level of a tragic beauty and a manifestation of the sublime. I am sometimes disappointed to find so few poems about the desert that express something other than sad feelings or violent death. It is a pity we have not found poems written by people who lived in the desert all their lives or by caravan travelers who walked through the desert countless times.
I have traveled along the rim of the desert several times by bus, once – that first time - by truck, from Khotan to Urumqi, and then by train, from Urumqi to Xi’an to visit my grandparents. It took eight and a half days, one-way, by bus, and four days by train. I do not know if I was fortunate or not in never having traveled by riding a camel; that seems so romantic. So, I had passed through most portions of the Silk Road east of the Pamir mountain range. On these trips, perhaps because I had lived in the desert for too long, I was not really sensitive to it or inspired by it. When jolted in the bus with your stomach turning upside down for eight days, you cannot and do not enjoy the scenery. After all, there is only one scene – the endless, dull-colored sand, sand, and more sand. However, the desert’s infinite space, the blurring of the sky and earth, and the mysterious mirages that follow one after the other on the horizon, did leave strong impressions on me that remain till today.
My real understanding of the desert only occurred when I had my “re-education” years on a farm deep in the desert. Although it is as far away from metropolitan areas as it is, Khotan did not escape the “Great Cultural Revolution.” Upon high school graduation, the government sent us all deeper into the countryside to be re-educated by farm workers. The idea was to let young people learn and share the feelings of poor farm workers by living and working with them, and, at the same time, help them to improve their fieldwork and living conditions, and ultimately to realize the Communist Ideal. The idea was noble. And it was the call from Chairman Mao and Party. Although no one knew it then, we were the last ones who had to go into the countryside. The Cultural Revolution was near its end. I did not have to go because my brother went down to a farm two years earlier and was still there, and by then there was a new policy that each family could keep one child in town. However, I felt it would be shameful if I did not go. I was so naïve and idealistic. In a public speech I gave at the farewell meeting in the town I vowed that I would “take root” in the countryside and do what farm workers do for the rest of my life. I declared that from bottom of my heart. So there we were, about thirty graduates from high school and middle school, sent to a small farm west of Khotan.
The place we settled in was called Happiness Farm within Happiness Commune in Pishan County, one of the seven counties in the Khotan District. The farm was located beside a little seasonal stream twenty kilometers from the headquarters of the commune. There were about twenty or so families of Han Chinese who some years earlier had fled from the big famine in Gansu Province and managed to settle here. We were given an adobe building with one single row of rooms. Six girls shared one room, with a single adobe bed that stretched from one end of the room to the other. It was just big enough for the six of us to lay down our bedding next to each other (each space was no more than a twin size). Each of us had a wooden chest for clothes and other belongings, and two basins for washing. Water was a thirty-minute walk away in the stream.
The first room on one end of the building was the kitchen. We took turns cooking for the whole group. Because of the scarcity of water, we did not grow vegetables and therefore did not have vegetables to eat. The meals were always the same: plain corn gruel and steamed corn bread for breakfast; steamed or pan baked corn bread for lunch; and thick, salty corn porridge and corn bread for supper. No meat, no vegetables, no main dishes at all. After a few days of eating that kind of food, most of us got a seriously sour stomach and stomachache. We could not complain because the farm workers were no better off than we were. Once every a couple of months, one or two of our parents would manage to come for a visit, and bring salted veggies (something like pickles) bottled in jars. The bottled vegetables had to be very salty to preserve them. There were no paved roads and no public transportation to the farm, so it was very difficult for us to get out, and for our parents to get in. We had to budget the salty veggies so they could last until the next time some parents came.
For the first six months there, we only had wheat flour buns two or three times and boiled carrots once. Never having been in such a situation, you cannot imagine how delicious boiled carrots can be. It was the best dish I had ever had, and I could not believe it of myself who had been so particular about food and never liked cooked carrots at all. I was, indeed, reeducated in that sense. We also had a rare chance to have meat to eat. That was when the boys had caught a wild hog and slaughtered it. With such irresistibly delicious meat, nobody could ever be picky about food anymore. It was a big feast. We celebrated it joyfully.
Our daily work on the farm was to hoe up weeds, loosen the soil, carry the manure to the cornfields, and open up the new fields, etc. In the spring we plowed and planted; in the autumn we harvested ears of corn, shelled the kernels, cut the corn stalks, and so forth. To our disappointment, all work was done in the most primitive way. We used sacks to carry everything on our backs: manure, cornstalks, and anything else that needed to be moved. To plow a field, which was the hardest work, we used a kind of pickaxe (which looks like a hoe but much bigger and heavier). I could not figure out why we, as Chinese, who had been farmers for five thousand years, still used the same methods our great, great, …grandfathers had used. Some of us students did try to improve things by using a carrying stick with baskets on the two ends, and even a one-wheel cart to carry things.
Winter work on the farm was either gathering grass and shrubs from the desert to make compost, or cleaning and repairing irrigation canals. Once we went to Sangzhu, a small village at the foot of the Kunlun Mountains near the upper reaches of our water source to work on the construction of a major canal and dam. Sangzhu (Sanju) village was on a short cut to Kashmir and India, near a pass in the mountains. The trail to the pass was dangerously steep and narrow. Caravan travelers commonly lost their camels and even their own lives falling off the trail on the cliffs. In the March 1996 issue of National Geographic, there is an old photo Owen Lattimore took in 1926 showing his group on the pass. But back then none of us knew much about the place. For almost ten years, schools had been paralyzed by the Cultural Revolution so that we had not had history or geography classes. There were no regional maps either; actually, no concept of regional maps existed in our mind. You can imagine how surprised I was ten years later in the U.S. when I saw satellite photos of Pishan County shot by NASA and published in the February 1996 Scientific American, clearly showing the mountains, villages, and even the streets in town.
We had been assigned to work there for two weeks, but instead, we stayed for only two days because the farm workers really pitied us and sent us back. At the construction site, there were mountains on one side and desert on the other. There was no house or any kind of shelter for us to stay in. We built a circle with rocks for cooking. At night, we slept on the open ground. The experienced people taught us how to find a good spot out of the wind for sleeping at night. This was usually behind sand dunes where the roots of a Red Willow bush were buried. There was always wind at night; it was just a matter of whether it would be big or small. But even the least wind could be very annoying, and the wind was sometimes dangerous. We soon learned that we had to cover our faces completely with wool scarves, or sand would fill our noses, mouths, eyes and ears, and even choke us. Even covered, we still felt we were chewing sand all the time. At first it was such an exciting experience to sleep in the open desert. I thought I would look at the sky counting the stars or dreaming about romance all night. Oh! There was no way you could lie on your back with your face up. All your open orifices would fill up with sand. Reluctantly, I covered myself completely under the thick quilt, as it was very cold too. In the morning, we all laughed at each other, because we still looked like people made out of sand, no matter how well we had covered ourselves, but there was no water to wash ourselves with.
In the desert, any degree of a wind could make a sand twister. It was fun to look at the twisters dancing around. Sometimes I suspected that Wang Wei’s famous line of poetry about desert might refer to a twister, although it is usually interpreted as a signal fire:

In the vast desert, there’s a lone smoke straight up;
Above the long river, the setting sun appears so round.

Gathering shrubs for compost was another normal winter task. One cold winter day, very early in the morning, we got up, packed a little corn bread and water, and went into the desert. Our job that day was to cut, gather, and bring back shrubs for making compost. The air was chilly and fresh. The sky was dark blue and full of bright stars. I saw the entire sky like a huge upside down bowl resting on the earth. It was beautiful and awesome. I wondered if there could be any better scene in the world. Nobody talked. We were simply quieted by the overwhelming cosmic silence.
There are only a few kinds of plants that grow in the area. Among them are the Red Willow (a kind of five-stamen tamarisk), a shrub tree whose thick, deep roots we commonly dug up for firewood, and Camel Thorn (Alhagi maurorum), a shrub with needle-sized thorns which had no use except to rot for compost to fertilize soil. I always felt sorry to cut them down. In the dull desert, they were the only colorful things that could cheer you up. Red Willows have small red-purple blossoms stuck along the branches, and Camel Thorns grow tiny purple flowers the size of your smallest fingernail. But Camel Thorns were the ones we wanted for this particular job.
The shrubs grew so widely scattered that we had to spread far apart in the desert. We reminded each other to keep close enough so that we would not get lost. Quite soon, we could only hear but not see each other. At one point I helped two girls put their bound loads on their backs ready to go. When the sun rose high, I saw the last one off. She actually insisted that we two go back together. But I did not feel I had enough. So I told her to go ahead, and I went further into the desert to gather more shrubs. I did not notice how much time passed before I had gotten a big hill of thorns gathered in front of me. I pressed and tightened it with my whole body. I tramped and jumped on it so it could be bound into a bundle. I did my best to tighten and tie it. (Many years later, in the States, I could still feel one or two thorns poking out here and there from the sheep’s wool trousers I had knit myself and had on that day). But the bundle was still bigger than me, and it was so heavy that I had very hard time loading it up on my back.
From behind me, one would have been unable to see a person, only a hill of bushes moving slowly. It took several minutes before I suddenly realized that I should check the direction to make sure I was heading home. There were no roads, no trails, but only endless sand. I was afraid that I might not be able to put the bundle back on my back again by myself, so at first I hesitated whether I should drop the load and go up to a hill looking for some signs. But my instinct told me I should do it right away. So I dropped the load and climbed to the highest sand dune nearby.
When I got to the top of the hill and looked around, I was shocked. All directions looked exactly the same. There was not a single sign showing the way home. The farm with the little village was totally beyond the horizon. Instantly I collapsed, my heart beating wildly and my legs shaking. A great panic fell over me. At first my mind went blank and then I could not think rationally. I do not know how long I kneeled there before I realized I should do something. I managed to stand up and call out loudly, hoping somebody was still around. “Is there anybody here?” “Can somebody hear me?” But to my horror, no sooner had I begun to shout, than I realized that my voice was completely gone. I could not get a sound out. I had lost my strength. I pulled up myself and tried again. “Hello! Is anybody there?” This time the sounds came out of my throat but were immediately swallowed by the vast empty space. The power of the desert overwhelmed me. I looked up. It was cloudy. I could tell the sun was directly overhead; there is no way to use the sun to determine directions when it is noon. And I knew that since we came to the farm I had not paid attention to the directions anyway. I was totally lost. Desperate, I began to think about death.
Taklamakan, the name of the desert in Turkic language, simply means “a place one can go into, but will not come out of.” All the stories about the desert poured into my memory. Some told how people lost their way in the desert and were only found mummified years later. Some described how the wind moved sand dunes from one side of the road to the other overnight but kept them in the same shape, so after a storm travelers did not notice the change and therefore went the wrong direction and got lost forever. There were even reports of well-prepared explorers vanishing in the desert. Furthermore, everybody knew that cargo truck drivers always went in a group carrying more than enough water and food in case there were unexpected situations.
Now, kneeling in the sand, alone, shaking all over, I found the stories became real. But I was only nineteen, too young to die. “I cannot die like this.” I had to find a way out. The sun above me reminded me that it was noon, and I had several hours to try to find a way out before it got dark. I struggled to stand up. Still, every direction looked the same, all reached to the end of the earth. I slid down the hill, leaving the food bag behind as a sign, and looked around. Something caught my eyes. Goat droppings. And then, donkey droppings. My heart almost jumped out of my throat. I knew I might have a chance. Soon I found the animals’ tracks. I crawled on the ground to study them. But, the more tracks I found, the less confidence I had. There were too many of them, and they pointed in all directions. I did not want to give up. I decided that I would go to the direction I felt right by instinct, and if I did not see any sign of a village within one or two hours of walking, I would come back and go in the opposite direction, but staying always within range of the animals’ tracks. Having made this decision, I felt relieved a little, and went up the hilltop to eat my corn bread. The bread was already frozen, too hard to bite. I put it under my arms to warm up. I still had some water in the canteen, partially frozen. Luckily it was not summer, or I could have been fatally dehydrated already.
While eating, I began to think whether or not I should carry the big load – my whole purpose in life by this time. “Maybe it won’t be too late to drop it if the plan goes really wrong,” I persuaded myself. So again, I knelt down and leaned my back against the load, put my arms into the rope loops, straightened myself up, bent a little bit forward, crawled a few steps on my hands and knees, and then lifted the weight and stood up. Before I started to walk, I dug out a Red Willow stick from the sand hill, and dragged it on the ground while I walked in order to draw a line as a sign, in case I had to come back to the opposite direction. I actually changed directions several times. I did not know how long it took me to get out of the desert. I did not have a watch. When I suddenly saw the trees in the distance, I staggered and almost cried. I said to myself, “Don’t fall. Hold up. Don’t fall. You’ve survived.” Several years later, when I sat in the university library reading Jack London, I felt like saying to him, “Hey, buddy, I’ve been there.”
When I arrived at the village it was late afternoon. I was too exhausted to step up even the three inches off the ground to the scales, to record how heavy a load I had carried. Two guys had to pull me up. I had carried a load of about 130 pounds, 20 pounds heavier than myself. At supper that evening, one of my roommates said to me, “You stupid girl. Why are you so serious? Look at our Boss! He brought only 20 pounds. Do you want to die?” I only smiled wearily. I did not explain to anybody why I came back so late. I did not want to talk about my experience of life and death casually to those who had not had a similar experience or who would not understand such things. I needed time to myself to think and digest the meaning of it. It was like a sudden enlightenment that made me begin to think both philosophically and realistically about my life.
Before graduation, the school authorities and the Communist League had organized us to study Chairman Mao’s theories and discuss the significance of the strategy of letting students go “up the mountains and down the countryside.” At those meetings, we studied a case of “Regional Realization of Communism” – the Da Zhai Commune in Shanxi Province. There the farm workers had reached the goal of supplying enough food to the Commune members and even achieved a surplus to contribute to the government as well. They could afford to send all the children to school and were able to provide medical care to all the members of the commune. All the villagers had become better off equally. The example was exciting and tangible. In the past, Communism had looked so vague and abstract to me, but now it became concrete and something that could be accomplished. If people of Da Zhai could make it happen, we could too. So when I got to the farm, I calculated how much income I could possibly make, and then the total needed for all villagers to have sufficient food and other supplies. To my disappointment, I realized that at my best, by the end of each year I would be earning a share of 330-440 pounds of grain plus 100-200 yuan cash (about $10-20 dollars). This meant I would be able to have about one pound of grain for food and 0.40 yuan (or 4 cents) cash to spend per day. But I thought that was good enough.
Now, suddenly, I felt how ridiculous the Communist ideal was and how foolish we were to believe in such nonsense. How could I have been so naïve and so stupid and so blind? How could we change people’s life and change the world by using the most primitive production methods and by sacrificing young people’s lives in the desert? How could such minimum basic survival conditions be the Communist Ideal?! What is Communism anyway?
The Taklamakan desert transformed me. Not because I was scared by the desert, but because I experienced the overwhelming power of nature so closely and truly. If I had ever had a religious feeling, it was then, when I was overwhelmed in the desert, kneeling to pray to it to have pity on me. Even when I overcame it, it was with great awe and respect, and I saw my limits.

New Jersey July 5, 2007

The above is my persoanl narrative written for an analogy on Teaching the Silk Road by SUNY Publication.

Flashes at the End of the Sky (2)

My Personal Khotan on the Silk Road

The Bounty of Khotan

Khotan has been famous for a variety of beautiful things since ancient times, especially jade and silk. In the Shang dynasties (16th-11th century BCE), Khotan jade found its way to the royal courts in central China. According to Shanhaijing, a book from the second century BCE, in the tenth century BCE, a Zhou dynasty emperor Mu Wang traveled to the Kunlun Mountains to find white jade. Khotan jade has been the privileged royal and national jewel for China ever since.
Jade caught my attention in an unlikely manner. On a street corner a small, deformed Uyghur man had a little vendor’s stand. On Sundays, my father often took me to the bazaar (Uyghur people use the word for market) to buy our vegetables and fruits. The bazaar was a little down from the town center at the only intersection of two dusty roads. Uyghur vendors and farmers from far away sold vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, meat, live chicken, eggs, crafts, firewood, and local food like kaoyangrou, roasted mutton kabob; zhuafan, rice polo; nang, baked flatbread; and lamian, hand-pulled long noodles. At one corner of the intersection next to the bazaar, a man, shortened by polio, always kneeled or curled up beside a shawl about two feet square laid on the ground. On it were some pieces of jade: wine cups, tobacco pipes, rings, bracelets, cubes for seals, and raw pebbles. The beautiful shining colors of the jade – pale green, dark green, cream white and orange etc. made a dramatic contrast against his always-blackened all-weather chiapan (a kind of long robe) and his sheepskin hat. Very often, he was pushed and even buried in the Sunday crowds. Few people paid attention to him. As if never noticing anything around him, the little man always faced his “jewels,” never calling out to sell them, never moving. He sat like a black statue. My father and I were constant visitors to his two-foot stand. I remember over the years father bought a few cubes of jade for carving seals to stamp on his paintings. I liked to hold the cups or play with the bracelets, but father never bought any for me. We simply could not afford such luxury. I always felt, and still feel, guilty for not buying more jade from the poor man. He disappeared during the Cultural Revolution.
It was at this little jade stand that my father enthusiastically talked to his only audience, me, about Khotan jade. The Kunlun Mountains to the south of Khotan are home to the largest deposit of the best quality jade in the world. The two kinds of jade are both produced here: nephrite and jadeite. Jadeite is a hard stone, mostly in green colors, which exists in many places all over the world. Nephrite is softer and occurs mostly in white colors. There are only three or four places in the world where nephrite deposits are known, and Khotan happens to produce a very rare type, called “sheep-grease,” which is creamy white and partially translucent. In the spring, when the snow in the mountains melts, the flood pours down with rocks, and jade pebbles appear on the riverbed. Interestingly, the two different jades are always found separately in two separate rivers, the two main rivers running through Khotan, one on the east side, the other the west. So it is not a surprise to find that one river is named yurung kash in Uyghur language, meaning white jade, the other is kara kash, black jade.
Since ancient times, people have made a living picking up the stones in the river. But almost every person living in Khotan has had the experience of looking for jade. Each winter the town government would organize people to go to the rivers to repair the banks and dams. School kids from the fourth grade up always went. We often heard that someone we knew had found a piece of jade while digging the riverbed. Or a farm worker heading to market had randomly picked up a stone from the river to put on one side of the load on his little donkey to balance the weight, and the rock only later was recognized by prospectors in the market to be a valuable chunk of jade. Everybody in Khotan can tell you one or two stories like that.
The two jade rivers, like two living dragons, yield their most precious treasures, water and jade to Khotan’s people. But sadly, for the last ten years, under the greed of the new commercial wave, the rivers have been turned upside-down as deep as several meters. The businessmen from developed areas brought in the most powerful modern machinery to dig, screen, and to destroy the riverbed for money.
Another famous product of the region is silk. Nobody is really sure exactly when sericulture reached Khotan. It seems it has been there all along. In the Tang Dynasty, Xuanzang visited the town and recorded their legend of the Silk Princess who had first brought silk to Khotan. The Princess from the East Kingdom married the prince of Khotan. Before leaving for her new home, she was advised to bring some silkworm eggs and to raise the worms and make silk of her own so she would not feel homesick. However, there were strict rules forbidding anyone to take the secret of silk making out of her home kingdom. So the princess hid the eggs in her fancy hairdo and carried out the eggs to Khotan. From then on, Khotan had its own silk. More than a thousand years after Xuanzang’s visit, Aurel Stein excavated a wooden board from the Tang period with a painting identified as the Silk Princess.
The kids in Khotan were all completely familiar with silk and silk production. We almost all raised silkworms as pets. We normally started with some nearly invisible tiny black dots fixed on a slip of bark paper – one egg is smaller than a dot from a ballpoint pen. The kids would tear the piece of paper into even smaller pieces to share among themselves. When the weather gets warmer in the spring, the worms come out of their shells, as tiny as the tiniest ants in a brownish color. They have to be put on white paper for the first few days so people can see them, or they could be easily wiped off without being noticed at all. As they grow they become white and fat, and two inches long. It was fun to go out of town after school to pick mulberry tree leaves for the worms. It usually took us thirty minutes to an hour one way to get to the outskirts where poplar, sand-date, and mulberry trees lined the road on both sides. Imagine how happy we were to walk under the trees with friends after a long school day, not just picking the leaves but also eating the berries! The mulberries were always so irresistibly sweet and juicy, like all the other fruits grown there, that we could not resist eating and eating until we had no more room in our stomachs. We were experts on picking the right leaves and processing them. The leaves have to be young and tender and must be washed and dried before you feed the worms. The chewing noise of the creatures is pleasant like music, but could be annoying as well, especially when you tried to sleep at night. Some of us were also good at forcing the worms to spin their silk into cocoons of whatever shape we desired, either normal or into a neat flat sheet. Many of us used the flat sheets that came as stuffing in the containers for calligraphy ink. You could fold one into a small square and fit it back into the little brass box. Sometimes, we could get special worms that would produce colored silk. I once had silkworms that produced bright yellow and pale green silk. I never figured out how they could make colors out of their bodies.
There was a silk reeling factory in town. The local farm workers bred silk worms and grew mulberry trees on their own, and then sold silk cocoons to the factory to be processed. The master workers in the factory had come from “the capitals of silk,” Suzhou and Hangzhou, near Shanghai. The factory recruited many Uyghur girls and sent them to Suzhou for training. The local factory helped revive the fame of the old silk town on the Silk Road, and the parents of many of my classmates worked in the factory. Once, a story came to my mother’s attention at the Khotan Daily. A young man on a farm in Yutian County was looking for a Uyghur girl who his mother had nursed almost fifteen years before in Suzhou while her mother was in training there. He hoped that newspaper reporters could help him find her. He had no address or names, but my mother asked a reporter friend to work with her to find the whole story. After going to many places and interviewing many people, they found out that the girl’s mother had moved to Kashgar and left the daughter with a grandmother. It took my mother and her colleague more than a year to finally locate the girl. To my mother’s surprise and delight, the girl happened to be my classmate sitting right next to me. Her name is Bahargul in Uyghur, meaning Spring Flower. My mother drew a picture book about the story and published it. From then on, we thought of Bahargul as a modern silk princess.



The above is my persoanl narrative written for an analogy on Teaching the Silk Road by SUNY Publication.

Flashes at the End of the Sky (1)

My Personal Khotan on the Silk Road

Coming to Khotan

Khotan is a far, far away little town on the edge of the world’s second largest desert – the Taklamakan - in northwestern China. It is as far away as “the end of the sky” according to a Chinese expression, set in the Kunlun Mountains between the Tarim Basin and Tibetan plateau, in one of the fertile oases where there are water resources to grow grains and raise sheep and cows. The earliest traceable residents were probably Sakas, an Iranian-language-speaking people, who later mixed with Qiang-Tibetans and Turkic peoples. In about 9th century CE, a Turkic people called the Uyghur became the dominant population. They converted to the Muslim religion, and thus there is a strong Muslim presence in the region today. The Han Chinese people have founded small communities there since the Han Dynasty. Geographically and historically, Khotan has been an important trade center for caravans, pilgrims, explorers, and even diplomats: a place to stop for a rest, to reload supplies, and to conduct trade. Early travelers who stayed in Khotan and left their remarks about the place include Zhang Qian, the envoy to the West Region during the Han Dynasty; Xuanzang, the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk who traveled to India; and Marco Polo, the merchant of medieval Venice and ambassador of the Pope to Cathay, to name the best known. And, of course, there was Aurel Stein, the Hungarian-British archaeologist, who made Khotan even better known to the world at the turn of the 19th and 20th century with his famous rediscovery of ancient Khotan.
My parents, who were assigned to work for a local newspaper, the Khotan Daily, brought me to Khotan in the early 1960s, when I was five years old. Both of them had been artists and editors-in-fine-arts, my father for a publishing house and my mother for the only women’s magazine in Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had secretly labeled my father as “having Right Opportunist opinions,” and supposedly sent him to Khotan to help with frontier development. Mother had to go with him. However, since there were so many things going on in the country at that time, my parents did not know the true reason they were chosen until some twenty years later. The Party had called on educated people to go to the remote and poor areas to work. The District of Khotan sent delegations to the big cities to recruit people with up-to-date knowledge and skills; and the government tried to relocate people from big-famine-affected provinces to Xinjiang. My parents, young and idealistic (naïve, too), simply believed they had responded to the Party’s call for the noble cause of constructing a Communist new China. Only a few years earlier, the CCP had called on them to help build the new Xinjiang and sent them from Xi’an, the ancient capital city in central China, to Urumqi, the largest city and the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Now they were on the road again from Urumqi to Khotan.
We traveled on a military truck that had a grass-green colored heavy canvas cover. We sat on our suitcases and luggage rolls and were tossed up and down on a poorly paved road along the edge of the desert. Three other families and a few young retired soldiers were packed in with us. All of them, including my parents, were so optimistic and enthusiastic that they ignored the length and boredom of the journey. As my mother recalls, the journey was not really so bad. It was early spring. Within a day or two of driving in the dull barren desert there were occasional areas with fruit trees full of blossoms and green fields, and these always caused great excitement. All I can remember is that when we stayed in Kashgar (another large oasis town) for two days, my father took me with him to a bazaar to look around, and I became obsessed with a small colorful doll the size of my hand carved out of rough wood. It took us twelve days to get to Khotan.
Khotan welcomed us with its cheerful blossoms. For new settlers, as for travelers throughout time, its abundance of fruits, grains, and lamb meat, make strong impressions. Thanks to the ever-lasting snowmelt of water in the Kunlun Mountains, the crops of the oasis are secure. Actually, at the time we got there, it had such surplus that the Khotan District was responsible for shipping its grain to Tianjin, the third largest city in China, to relieve the devastating famine there.
In the town, people who were Han Chinese like my family made up only two percent of the population. But to my surprise, I gradually learned that Han Chinese had lived there all along. These included the families of merchants from the central provinces, descendents of Qing dynasty’s officials, and those who had helped the Russians to build railways in Siberia and fought for them during the first World War, but became stuck in Khotan on their way back home. Many of these people had married local Uyghurs, Russians, and in a few cases, Jews. We called these Han Chinese “Old Khotanese.”
Growing up in Khotan, I was happy, although to many people it was such a miserable and unlivable place. Sand was everywhere – in the air, on the ground, in and out of your houses, all the time. No matter if you sat in an outdoor movie theatre (there was no indoor one) with rough wood benches for two hours, or went out for a short time to shop for groceries, you needed to whisk off the dust and sand from your head, shoulders, and feet before you could go into your one or two-room apartment. Every year in the spring there were sandstorms. Sometimes they could be so thick that the entire sky became dark like nighttime. One storm could last for an hour or two. When it passed, you would find sand at least an inch thick on everything in the room, no matter how well you had shut or even sealed the doors and windows. We called these storms a “black wind” if they were very bad, or a “yellow wind” if they were not so bad.
Water, obviously, was precious here. Each government agency or residential compound had a man-made reservoir called a laoba to store water for daily use. There was one laoba in the Khotan Daily compound. It was the size of a standard American swimming pool and held water for about one hundred residents (employees and their families). Twice a year canals would bring in water to refill the reservoir. Most of the time the water was brownish and opaque. And of course, we were not the only ones who needed water. There were other creatures: birds, toads, bugs, water-worms, and so forth that also shared the same water. It was my mother’s strict rule that we must boil the water before drinking it. Even then, it would still take a couple of minutes for the dust particles to fall to the bottom of a cup before you could drink it. My father, and later on my brother, was responsible for fetching water for the family, with our two aluminum buckets. Occasionally there were bad years when we were very short of water. When that happened, the entire family would use one bowl of water to wash all our faces in the morning, and we saved it to wash our feet in the evening.
Because of the moisture around the laoba, willow trees and fruit trees grew nearby. They were the famous native fruit trees: apricots, peaches, pears, and plums. A man who was publicly denounced as a “Counter-Revolutionary” and therefore not given any other job but janitorial work was in charge of taking care of the laoba area. He seemed to put all his time and energy into planting many kinds of flowers, which turned the field into a beautiful garden. It was this garden which we called the “circle of the laoba” that became our kids’ Eden. We children spent most our off-school time playing there. Still today we remember this place fondly.
The grape trellises all the way to the roofs in front of our apartments and office buildings created another pleasant and common scene in the compound. We could reach the grapes right outside the apartment door. But of course, we were not allowed to pick the grapes on our own until the autumn time when the grapes were ripe and shared by all members of the agency. All the fruits grown in Khotan were extraordinarily sweet.
There were never any extra material goods other than the most basic. I remember I had only one doll all my childhood. Four of us lived in a two-room apartment without any appliances but some make-shift furniture including three beds made of plain wooden boards, a small cabinet for clothes, a wooden shipping case used for storing the kitchen utensils, a desk and a chair, a very small eating table with four little stools, and a large bookshelf. There was neither kitchen nor bathroom in the apartment. In the summer we cooked outside on an adobe stove on the ground, and in the winter we had an iron stove set in one room for both heating and cooking. The birthday treat was two boiled eggs for the birthday-child, and the other could have only one egg. I did not receive any birthday present until my twelfth birthday when my parents spent more than a half of their monthly salary to buy me a violin – the greatest luxury in all their lives and mine until then. It was heyday of the “Cultural Revolution.” My parents were criticized as “black” (meaning bad) artists with bourgeoisie and revisionist ideas. They had to burn or hide pictures of any Western art except for the Russian socialist realistic art. They did not want us to follow in their footsteps to become artists anymore, although they had dreamed of training me to be a painter and my brother a sculptor. But Western musical instruments were all right if we played revolutionary music on them. So there they were, my parents, with this beautiful violin, wishing I would grow up artistic and elegant.
Some years later I brought my violin with me to Grandma’s in Shanxi Province, just to kill time there. I had played only some folk and revolutionary songs. One day my first uncle asked me to follow him to his room. He moved pillows from an old broken couch that had a strong steel frame. He crawled down looking for something under the couch. Surprisingly, he tore the seat from underneath and took out some old records, and then a record player. It was like magic. He said he had had to hide these things when the Red Guards had come looking for anything feudal or bourgeois. I helped him carry the player and records to the grandma’s room where my third uncle helped set up the record player. They played famous classical music for me, which I had never heard before. All western music had been banned during the Cultural Revolution. It was the first time in my twenty-year old life that I heard Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and many others. I was electrified the moment Beethoven’s No. 5 Symphony started. I stood like wood by the record player for about an hour or so without noticing my uncles’ gesture telling me to sit down. How could there be such beautiful music ever in the world! And why was it not allowed to be played? The world I had known became suddenly so small and so ridiculous. A hunger for more knowledge burst out inside me. I realized there was another much larger world out there. It was the darkest moment before dawn, to use a Chinese expression. My uncles and I played the music everyday after that; but we played it with low volume and with all doors and windows closed, so nobody on the street could hear us. While I tried to suck in every note of the music, my uncles fell into their remote memories and dreams. I felt very sorry for them.
I am grateful to my parents for passing on to us their optimistic attitude toward hardships. Bad as our circumstances were, their artistic eyes always sought out beauty from this sandy, barren, harsh, difficult, and forgotten corner of the world. Father’s landscape paintings were of the lofty Kunlun Mountains, of peaceful pastures with grazing horses and cows, of yellow diversiform-leaved poplar trees and Red Willow shrubs stubbornly growing in the desert, of farm workers riding on little donkeys going to markets. Mother’s fine-line paintings of Uyghur girls with many little hair braids and beautiful dresses dancing on Khotan-style carpets under the grape trellis, or of Tajik children caring for their baby sheep, all made us love the place and feel fortunate to live here.


The above is my persoanl narrative written for an analogy on Teaching the Silk Road by SUNY Publication.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

秦淮河





去南京不去秦淮河好象不成。离开前一天,硬是让一位专程从北京赶来的高中老同学推掉他已经订好的一桌宴席,改到秦淮河边的夫子庙晚晴楼了。我说,来南京不看秦淮河哪行。他说,我来南京多次了,从来不知道有个秦淮河。蛮拧。
老同学当了多年的军人,后来又做了军商,自然对文人雅士所关心的东西不感兴趣。看着窗下河里的灯船、对岸的酒楼歌厅,评价了一句:嗯,还不错。后来饭席间有两次琵琶和胡琴琴师进来献艺,都被这位同学朋友挥挥手请出去了。结果送上门的秦淮音乐也没捞着听,倒是伸着脖子从阳台外偷看了两眼隔壁包厢的演唱。后来想想,到这样的地方,还非得有一帮浪荡才子、酸臭文人聚在一起才可尽兴。
据传说,秦淮河是秦始皇东巡时为断龙脉而开凿的。当时他看见金陵上空紫气飞腾,便让方士徐福解释这一景象。徐福风水阴阳云云之后,告之此地为龙脉极盛之地,紫光为龙首之象,几百年后这里将有帝王出现。秦王自然不悦。为预防他人做王,秦始皇命令开凿一条十里长河横断这里的龙脉。
后来,作为六朝都城,这里云集了不少名门望族官宦商贾;再后来,朝代的兴兴衰衰、起起落落又招来了无数文人骚客的缅怀凭吊。明清时,十里秦淮进入鼎盛期。金粉楼台,画舫灯船,歌女艺妓 ...... 设在北岸的江南贡院更是年年招来大批科举考生,给秦淮增添了浓厚的文化气息,也因此产生了无数动人的故事。钱谦益和柳如是,侯方域和李香君,唐伯虎,郑板桥,还有陈圆圆、苏小小,等等,等等。
对我,秦淮河是只敢去看,不敢去写。历代文人写它已经太多;赞美的,怀念的,感叹的...... 在此抄下前人的名句。
唐 刘禹锡:“朱雀桥边野草花,乌衣巷口夕阳斜,旧时王谢堂前燕,飞入寻常百姓家。”
唐 杜牧:“烟笼寒水月笼沙,夜泊秦淮近酒家。商女不知亡国恨,隔江犹唱后庭花。”
清 孔尚任:“梨花似雪草如烟,春在秦淮两岸边,一带妆楼临水盖,家家粉影照婵娟”。

Friday, October 9, 2009

玛雅世界探寻

(十月填充)


游访玛雅古迹和现代玛雅地区的旅程一决定,我便迫不及待了。不料出师不利。第一步就遇到了麻烦。

在纽约机场检票的柜台前,一位即像印度人又像阿拉伯人、又像中东哪个国家的人的工作人员把我的护照在电脑上刷扫了几次,又翻过来倒过去地看了好几遍,说:你需要危地马拉政府的签证。我说:有啊,不就订在护照上嘛,就是那个白信封。我上星期刚从危地马拉驻纽约领事馆办妥的。工作人员说,这需要危地马拉城机场海关的确认。我说,我人到了那边不就确认了嘛。

当初来美国时就是这样,一封用订书机订在护照上的密封的白信封,到美国入境时由美国移民官拆封。

对不起,工作人员客气地说,你持的是中华人民共和国护照,必须要得到危地马拉那边的认可才能入境。我跟他力争:我现在是出境、不是入境,况且危地马拉领事馆已经允许我进入他们的国家。他不慌不忙地把电脑转了180度角,说:你自己看,中国公民进入危地马拉需要签证和落地机场的确认。

那我怎么办?飞机就要起飞了!他拿起了电话。先是跟危地马拉城机场联系,没人接;又跟危地马 拉驻纽约领事馆联系,下班了。我都快急死了。第三世界国家的工作效率想都能想象得出来。请把你的经理找来,我要跟他或她说。经理来了,一个白人。先听工作人员的解释,再看电脑,又听我的解释,然后对我说:我们会尽快与对方机场取得联系,联系上后,你可以乘坐最近一次班机。

倒霉!怎么偏偏碰到个外国人。越是外国人工作越叫真儿。没准还是来自哪个伊斯兰国家的侨裔。这“911” 事件刚过不久,美国各大机场增加了中东、中亚和南亚国家出身的工作人员。他们当然会百倍认真地履行他们的职责的。不知怎么,我觉得那个工作人员很有点幸灾乐祸的样子。我心里明白,如果一开始就遇上个地道的美国人,也就过去了。美国人总是大大咧咧的。

也不能全怪人家。我的中国护照也的确在中南美洲不能畅行无阻。有几个国家至今还没有和中华人民共和国建立外交关系,危地马拉就是其中之一。对中国公民尤其不利的是,信奉“毛主义”的游击队在危地马拉还闹得很凶,当局政府有足够理由不欢迎中国人去。后来老公调侃说:他们怕你是中共派去的女间谍。嗨,你不妨去给游击队讲讲毛泽东的《论持久战》,那多浪漫。说实话,我还真的很同情那里的“毛主义” 的追随者。

说起中国护照,还另岔出一个故事。我到美国二十多年,本来早就可以“归化”了,但碍于母亲的固执,未敢加入美国籍。母亲其实是个开通的知识分子、艺术家,但在这个问题上却一步不让,绝对大义灭亲。我不想断绝我们的母女关系。

就这样,我被撂在纽约机场,坐在特意设计的不让人躺下的候机大厅的座椅上,守着行李,等了整整一个下午、 一个晚上。腰酸背疼。第二天早上,电话终于打通。那边机场说:领事签署的签证就可以了,不需要我们再次确认。

我早就知道。


危地马拉是现代玛雅人最集中的国家,有六百万玛雅后裔,占当今全部玛雅人口的百分之75。要了解玛雅文化,那里非去不可。

到达危地马拉城时天色已经很黑,我乘车径直去了四十公里外的小城安提瓜 (Antigua) 。

安提瓜全名安提瓜危地马拉,意为老危地马拉,是西班牙殖民者十六世纪在危地马拉建立的第一个首都,当时管辖危地马拉、墨西哥东北部、伯利兹、洪都拉斯、和萨尔瓦多等地区。十八世纪后期因这里发生连续性地震,首都不得已迁往现在的危地马拉城。迁都虽然给安提瓜带来了各方面的萧条,但也帮它保留了殖民时期的城镇原貌。为此,1979年它被列入联合国世界文化遗产名录。

领队已在宾馆等候。双方急急忙忙地相互介绍、登记、搬行李。还没有完全安定下来就听领队开始通知各位团员:一星期后要去的玛雅遗址提卡尔 (Tikal) 行程取消了。一问,原来最近去那里的路上发生了游击队劫持美国游客人质事件。虽然没有一人受伤,游击队也一再表示他们只是以此做法对政府施加压力而不会对人质作任何伤害,游客仍然很害怕。怪不得呢,回想我在机场的待遇,这游击队还真的很厉害。我的同行们也很紧张,对取消那段行程表示赞成。遗憾。我倒巴不得见识见识呢。再说,提卡尔是一处非常重要的玛雅古城,不仅历史最长,而且曾经是玛雅世界里几大强国之一。我盼了很多年要去,却被一个小小的的游击队吓住了。能不遗憾吗? 后来又知道,这些人其实连正式的游击队也不是,只是当地老百姓自发的行为。

夜里到达,什么也没看清。第二天早上一出房门,清新的空气、动听的鸟鸣、美丽的奇花异草、五彩夺目的 MACAW 鸟(鹦鹉属),石板条铺的干净的小街道,远处峰峦起伏的群山,一切都是那么的新鲜可爱、赏心悦目,我立刻喜欢上了这个小城。

安提瓜城位于危地马拉南部山区,座落在三座绿色的火山包围之中。其中一座火山是活的,有时还会来点儿小动作。宾馆服务员说傍晚时分站在高处就能看见火红的山头。我们一行还真找到一个具有制高点的小餐馆,爬上人家的阁楼,观望了一会火山头。也许是嫌我们没有通报就看它了吧,那座火山当天就给我们一个下马威。半夜,我被一阵强烈的震动摇醒。“地震!”我和室友慌忙逃出屋外。转眼一看,才发现只有我们一群外来客惊慌失措地不知如何是好。第二天当作新鲜事逢人便问。当地人都若无其事地说,哦,是那座活火山,抖了抖,没事儿。原来,这里是地震带,小震非常频繁,人们对它早已习以为常了。

这个即美丽又有威摄力的地方是被古今玛雅人当作风水宝地的。凯奇凯尔(Cakchiquel)族玛雅人祖祖辈辈都生活在这里,而且一直奉行着敬山祭山的传统。三座山中最大的一座被他们叫作胡纳普(Hunapu),神话中的玛雅英雄。可见他们是把山当作神来崇拜的。西班牙入侵者到来后也看中了这块地方,在此建立了殖民地首都,还在神山脚下建起了第一任总督官邸。官邸是欧洲巴罗克式建筑,石结构。早先中心部位有个很大的穹窿顶,下面有拱式柱廊和曲线型的装饰雕刻。这座建筑曾两次遭受地震摧毁,第二次时还搭上了总督夫人的性命。玛雅人认为这是老天对入侵者的报应,我也颇有同感。现在,断壁残垣默默地躺在荒草乱石中,竟也呈现出一点古香古色的凄美。

城区的建造为典型的西班牙殖民时期的风格:市中心一个广场,广场的东面是大教堂,北面是总督府,西面是政府机关和银行,南面是商铺。中午时分广场一带很热闹:商店、餐馆、小摊、游客,还有头上顶着箩筐、肩上挂着织物、手里转着首饰链的兜售纪念品的玛雅妇女,和吹着笛子、排箫、葫芦笙、敲着木梆的卖玛雅乐器的小伙子。一个小巧玲珑的玛雅少女飘然而过。纤细娥娜的身段,头上顶着直径足有一米半的箩盘,脚步轻盈而富有韵律地穿梭在游客中。那自然的韵味和不做任何修饰的美,让人倾倒。我急忙追上去借口买东西,好再近处欣赏一下。不巧,我借口的小工艺她没有。少女不紧不慢地把大箩盘顶回头上,告诉我她的小姐妹会有我要的东西,就悠悠哉哉地飘走了。我即刻被她的姐妹们包围。后悔没有及时把她拍照下来。遗憾至今。

安提瓜的教堂和修道院很多,十八世纪时达到三十多所,现在仍留有十几座残缺不全的遗迹。我们去了几家有代表性的。不知为什么,我特别不情愿去那些教堂,去了也任性地特意不拍照,跟谁赌气似地。是同情被殖民的玛雅人?是憎恨强盗般的征服者?还是厌恶传教士们的虚伪?可能都有。是啊,一切都是以上帝的名义。屠杀。征服。掠夺土地。强迫玛雅人皈依天主教。烧毁玛雅神像、书籍。不准玛雅儿童说自己的语言、学自己的文字。一个曾经辉煌过千百年的文明,到了西方侵略者手里就几乎彻底被摧毁。

历史有时让人觉得很无奈。见到这些带有炫耀基督教文化优越意味的建筑物,只觉得压抑。已经来了,也就看得很挑剔。这里的建筑基本追随和模仿当时盛行于欧洲各国的巴洛克风格,并无独特的创意。有些地方反而出现滥用现象。比如代表巴洛克风格的波纹曲线用的过于繁多,甚至柱子也被扭曲起来,失去了应有的支撑和稳固的感觉。石墙壁上的雕饰密密麻麻布满墙面,完全破坏了石料的质感。壁画也属于是入不了流的一类。理性地说,中美洲殖民时期的艺术还是自成一派的,尽管质量略逊一筹。但是在我看来,不管它的艺术成就如何,它所反映的宗教狂热正是毁灭土著文化的罪魁。面对一个文化对另一个文化的侵略、压迫和毁灭,我无法保持学者的冷静。

同伴中有人在仔细地寻找玛雅母题图案,不知是出于纯学术的兴趣,还是出于负罪心理;似乎有几枚玉米叶或玉米耳朵图案出现就能证明玛雅文化被保留继承下来。

城外旧官邸遗址旁有个小镇,住着玛雅人。我们去访问那里一家妇女纺织合作社。一进院子,满墙挂的五颜六色的手工织物立刻把人吸引住了。衣服、裙子、披肩、头巾、腰带、提包、小装饰,等等,全是妇女们自己制作的产品。玛雅的手工纺织比较简单原始:一尺至两尺宽的经线一头绑在一个树桩上,另一头绕在一根棍子上,然后再在棍子两头拴一根宽皮带套在织工的腰间。织工靠一根梭子来回穿梭织出花纹图案来。

玛雅妇女的服装设计很有讲究。各族支,各地区,甚至各村庄都有自己的特点,包括不同的象征物,图案,用色用料,等等。头帕头巾的戴法就有很多种。有的用一大长条粗布绻拧着缠绕在头上;有的用两寸宽十几米长的条带整齐地盘在头上,象个大盘子;还有的用大方巾折折叠叠随便搭在头顶上。有一种搭法特别像中国彝族妇女的头帕。我曾在一本书里见到几种玛雅服饰,与中国西南少数民族的服饰近似,这次来就想探出个究竟来。碰巧这本书的作者、一位研究玛雅纺织品的专家与我们同行,马上向她请教。经她解释才明白,原来一些亚洲式的图案只是近百年来借鉴的新样式。玛雅过去有自己的纺织技术和手工业,但西方人来了之后就逐渐衰落了。二十世纪初,为了发展经济,政府鼓励玛雅人发展手工纺织业。1915年的世界博览会恰好在巴拿马举办,适时适地地为中南美洲与世界其他国家的交流提供了有利条件。玛雅织工们特别吸收了东南亚的民间图案。我们现在所看到的玛雅织物中的图案大部分已经是新传统了。

我从架上抽下衣裙、头巾,披挂在身,夹在几位玛雅妇女之间,跟她们居然有点真假难辨,只是我的个头稍高些。 同伴们戏称我“高个儿玛雅”。

在危地马拉,有一个玛雅味很浓的小山城,叫作齐齐卡斯特南沟(Chichicastenango) ,距离危地马拉城西面一百五十公里。这里是玛雅凯齐族(Queche)的文化中心。凯齐人在西班牙人到来之际是玛雅各族中最强大、人数也最多的一支。他们曾在山脚下建有一个行政文化都市,随着殖民者的到来而被放弃。后来人们逐渐迁移到山里偏僻的地方,又慢慢集中到这个山中小镇来。

作为文化中心,山城每年七月举行一次大集市,为时两天,象中国的庙会,方圆几百里的乡民都要来这里赶集。我们也去赶集 - 赶在集市前一天到达。集市设在一个大教堂前的小广场上。这里是山上唯一一片平整开阔的地面。教堂建在一座前哥伦布时期的玛雅金字塔遗址上,只保留了原先的十八级大台阶。玛雅人过去把一年三百六十五天分为十八个月,每月二十天,再加五天的禁忌日。这十八层台阶就代表玛雅日历中的十八个月。这让我联想到中国彝族地区过去曾实行过的一种十八月历法,它也是把每年三百六十五天分为十八个月,每月二十天,外加五天的祭祀日。两地历法是否有什么历史渊源关系?这里三言两语无法说清楚。但有一点敢肯定,两者都有很长的历史,它们之间的相似并非近代的互相影响和交流。

台阶的上面几层专供卖香炉、香火的,下面则留给了卖鲜花的。各种热带花卉植物摆满高大的台阶,煞是好看。集市上的人有买的、卖的、看的、玩儿的、朝圣的、进香的、卜卦的、旅游的、考察的,等等,拥拥挤挤,水泄不通。妇女们的手工织品总是最耀眼夺目,也最叫卖。我买了一件当地风格的套头披肩,当下穿上,混入人群。

当初由于这里的人气日渐兴旺,西班牙传教士们也尾随而来,建立了教堂和修道院。十六世纪中期,在被迫阪依天主教和学习西班牙语文的凯齐族中几位贵族后裔,隐名埋姓地用西班牙字母书写记录下了凯齐语言的玛雅创世神话。这本用文字记录的神话在玛雅文化被极度毁灭了的情况下成了我们今天了解古代玛雅神话,宗教,文学,和艺术表现内容的重要文献。十八世纪初有人在这里的修道院图书室里发现了这个孤本,翻译为西班牙文。十九世纪时又有人把它译成法文出版。现在,这本神话已被翻译成十多种语言文字,在世界各国流传。

我们一行在大台阶前买了玛雅日历和鲜花,雇了几个玛雅孩子作向导,躲开闹市,去附近的一座山上拜访一个玛雅祭坛。

玛雅人过去盛行祭天地、祭山水、和祭祖神的。殖民化后千方百计地保留了一点点祈神求愿的传统。我们见到的祭坛极简陋:一个粗糙的石刻神像立在地中央,前面铺一块石板,几个大小不匀的石块围成半圆。石像和石板石块都被烟火熏得乌黑。此时正见一位远道而来的玛雅祭司为一家人“做场”。求愿人带来了鲜花和彩色腊烛。鲜花倚靠在石块上,腊烛按红黄白黑绿对准东南西北中五个方向立在石板上。这个特殊摆设叫作方位坛。早先的玛雅方位坛用不同颜色的鲜花来构制。现在用彩色腊烛来代替。祭司作法时必要先对着东南西北中五个方向祈诵。我想到中国的方位崇拜。中国商周、秦汉时期的四方说及五行说是用青红白黑黄代表东南西北中,而近代彝族毕摩作法时也必要先敬请四方或五方之神。

这里腊烛已经点燃。稍远一步,又有一大堆杂色腊烛燃烧着。祭司边咏诵着祈语边向火中投去腊烛,偶尔还喷过去一口白酒。求愿人一家静立在一边。祭司又轮个按着每一个人的头顶,继续着祈语。在场的人都祝愿这家人事随人愿。

许久。火息了,人散了。

我们献上鲜花,请求祭司也为我们祈祷。

祭司会讲好几种玛雅语言,但祈祷时用的却是西班牙语。他告诉我们,过去很长时间政府都不允许玛雅人进行自己的祭祀仪式,更不能用玛雅语祈祷。为了隐蔽,祭司们全用西班牙语。久而久之,玛雅的祈祷术语都被忘光,西语反倒来得方便。

祭司祈求玛雅神祗保佑我们一行热爱玛雅文化的人在玛雅世界的旅行一路顺风。

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

高个玛雅人 Tall Mayan




玛雅"天书"

我把过去发表过的一篇文章做了一些缩减和修改,放在这里,以填补九月空白。


图画似的古埃及文字诱惑了西方学者千百年,最终由法国学者张伯里昂 (Jean-Francois Champollion)在1822至1824两年间成功地破译,成为世界文化史上一个重大事件。可惜这位语言文字学天才英年早逝,没有赶上对玛雅文字的研究。就在他逝世后十多年,一位年轻的美国律师司蒂汶斯(John Stephens) 因卷入一桩案件而逃离美国、邀了一个英国画家朋友踏上去中美州的探险之旅。两年后,他们不仅从热带丛林中带出已经销声匿迹几百年的玛雅文明信息,而且掀起了欧美两大陆的玛雅研究热。在他著名的探险游记中,司蒂汶斯描绘和叙述了他所见到的玛雅纪念碑刻上的“象形文字”,认定它们象埃及文字一样书写和记录着玛雅历史,并呼唤第二个张伯里昂的出现。

呼唤张伯里昂有情可原。当时人们对他和埃及文字的破译历史仍记忆犹新。自公元四世纪起,一位希腊人就对已经衰亡的埃及文字表现出极大的兴趣。他把埃及文字定义为“象形文字”,认为它是图画表意文字,可以直接看图取意。文艺复兴时期,德国耶稣会教士、语言文字学家科切(Kircher)继承了这一象形文字的说法,按照自己的想象,也建立了一套“看图说话” 的解释方法和理论。此后,所有的研究者也都把这一文字当作纯粹的象形图画文字,认为它是用来直接表达意思的,不具备任何语音语言价值。我们现在知道,世界上并没有一种文字系统是单纯用图画直接表达意义的。大部分图画都是作为语音符号和其他符号来使用的。比如埃及文中一个跪坐的人像并不表示一个人在下跪,它只是一个休止符或句号。即使中文中有少量的字可以叫作象形字,如日、月、水、火等,但这类象形不过是汉字成形“六书” 中之一书而已,绝大多数文字并不象形。不难想象,用象形文字的理论进行研究和破译最终走入死胡同。1798年,一个偶然的事件使这一现状出现了转机。这年,欧洲霸主拿破仑征战到达埃及,发现并带回一块并列刻有希腊文和埃及文的纪念碑,即著名的“罗赛塔石” (Rosetta Stone) 。学者们借助石碑上明确的两种文字的对比,重新开始了破译埃及文的竞赛。张伯里昂的成功在于他彻底抛弃了传统的解释。他假定埃及文字同时由表意和表音符号组成,并且书写的是一种古埃及语言Coptic。当时这一古语还在尼罗河上游地区使用,而张伯里昂本人早已对这一古语进行了深入研究而且了如指掌。他首先从几个人名入手,发现了多个辅音和几个元音符号,然后推广到人名以外的文字,很快便找出了几乎所有的表音符号。自此,开启了埃及文字破译的大门。

玛雅文字的破译也经历了曲折漫长的过程。虽然没有上千年,但也确实让几代学者绞尽了脑汁。由於玛雅文化在十三世纪时的自行衰落,到十六世纪初西班牙人到来之际,仅有个别祭司还能认读那些古文字。而在殖民主义统治下,玛雅人被迫放弃自己的语言,学习和使用西班牙语,当十九世纪中叶人们再次发现玛雅古文明、想要了解它时,才发现它的文明历史的精髓--文字,已经 没有人能够认读了。於是,学者们就开始了一个艰辛而又充满戏剧性的破译历程。

第一个对玛雅文字发生兴趣并下决心学习和研究它的西方人是十六世纪时被派往尤卡坦半岛传教的西班牙天主教教士朗达(Diego de Landa)。朗达是个充满宗教热情又颇有文化素养的人。 当他第一次见到玛雅古迹和当时仍在普遍使用的手抄本历书时,就毫不怀疑地断定他所面对的人种和文化决非野蛮人和野蛮文化,而是一个有着深厚悠久历史的高度文明。为了了解这些“异教徒” 并为他们传播上帝的“福音”,朗达通过手势、图画等方式跟几个玛雅祭司学习当地的语言和文字,记录了他所认为的29个玛雅字母,将它们按照西班牙字母的顺序对照排列下来。但是由於他把玛雅文字完全当作拼音文字来对待,始终不知道世界上还有其它形式的文字存在,所以最终也没有弄清楚这些奇奇怪怪的符号是如何运作的。对后人来说,幸亏他完全不知道同时代人科切的象形表意文字理论,所以才一意孤行地记下来这些所谓的字母,否则我们将永远无法破译玛雅文字。实际上,他所记录的是29个单音节,每个音节都包含一个辅音和一个元音,而不是单音字母。

朗达既对被征服者抱有同情心、愿意了解他们的文化历史,但又出於宗教狂热试图对玛雅人实行宗教“洗脑” 。他做了两件具有历史意义的事情:一件好事,一件坏事。好的是他详细记录了对尤卡坦玛雅人生活习惯、宗教仪式、历史古迹等等的观察和了解,并留下了著名的玛雅“字母表”。坏的是他于1562年在玛尼Mani教区强行没收并焚烧了5000多件玛雅偶像和27本图文并茂手抄本文书,并且对当地村民施行残酷的逼、供、信,让他们承认自己的“巫术” 行为。要知道现在幸存下来的玛雅手抄本总共只有四本,而他一次就烧掉了二十七本!正是他对村民们的酷刑引起教会内其他教士的不满,把他告到上一级教会。在被召回国内为自己出庭辩护准备答辩之际,朗达把自己的笔记整理成一本书,题为 “关系(Relation) ”。就是这本笔记为后人留下了珍贵的 材料。公正地说,我们现在对殖民初期的尤卡坦玛雅人状况的了解有百分之九十以上来自他的笔记。而笔记中论述到的历法的用法、节日的庆祝典礼、新年的祭祀禁忌,成为后人了解古代玛雅文化最重要来源。特别是那些他至死没有搞懂的、他称为“魔鬼的手笔”的文字符号,更成为日后破译玛雅文字的“罗赛塔石”。

破译一种文字书写系统一般要具备两个条件:第一是这一文字所表述的语言,第二是这一文字和另一种已知文字的对照翻译。当年张伯里昂破译古埃及文是先确定了它所代表的语言是古埃及语言之一的Coptic语,又通过罗赛塔石上和埃及文并列刻写的希腊文的对比而实现的。两河流域的楔形文字在不同时期用来表示不同语言:苏美尔语,巴比伦语,亚述语,波斯语等等。现代人对楔形文字的破译是通过古波斯语和它的对照完成的。印度河流域的古文字至今无解,主要原因是我们既不知道它所用的语言是什么,也没有发现任何同时代的其它跟它对照的文字。

相比之下,朗达在尤卡坦的记录至少说明:一、玛雅手抄本上的文字代表当时还存活的一 种语言,因为人们尚还使用这些历书,可能就是当地的尤卡台克语言。二、玛雅-西班牙字母 对照表已具有语音对比性质,至少有29个语音音节可供分析。这两个事实已使玛雅文字具备了破译的基本条件。遗憾的是,朗达的笔记被遗忘在西班牙皇家历史学院图书馆的角落里长达三个多世纪之久。当玛雅文明的再发现者司蒂文斯呼唤第二个张伯里昂时,时间已到了十九世纪中期。

从十九世纪初开始,先是美国自然科学家拉非内斯库(C. Rafinesque) 从三本藏于欧洲的手抄本中释读了用点和短线表示的数字,接着法国传教士 Brasseur 于1862年在西班牙皇家历史学院图书馆发现了朗达的笔记,从中辨认出礼历(一种以260天为周期的历法)中的日名和数字的用法,很快又有人发现文字的书写是从左向右,从上往下,两行两行地进行。至二十世纪初时,已有以下几样文字辨认出来:数字零和二十,方向,颜色,金星,日历十八个月份的名称以及长数历(一种以360天为基本周期的历法)。二十世纪三十年代时又有人解读了月历。但是,所有这些都没有从根本上涉及到语音和真正语言的释读。大家虽然都对朗达的字母下过功夫,但没有任何结果。而且,在其后的三十年中,虽然又经过一代杰出的学者们的努力,仍然没有任何新的突破。

这段时期内,美国卡内基研究院的玛雅学权威汤姆森 Eric Thompson 可以说是这一研究领域的领袖。汤姆森有长期丰富的玛雅考古和民俗学方面的知识和经验,出版过非常有影响的著作,包括《玛雅象形文字介绍》,《玛雅象形文字目录》,《玛雅文明的兴衰》,《玛雅历史和宗教》等等。其中《目录》一书,直到今天仍然是玛雅文字学家们人手不离的参考书。但奇怪的是,汤姆森对大家仍然都记忆犹新的张伯里昂视而不见,却从一开始就接受科切(Kircher)的“象形图画文字说” 的理论,而且至死都认为玛雅文字是用象征图画表达意义的文字,与语音没有任何关系。 70年代初时他还下结论说玛雅文字充其量是一种表意文字,只能用来表达简单的概念和事物,而不能表达复杂的语言系统;而且大多数文字都是书写者们为满足想象而臆造出的毫无意义的图画。对於如此博学和有威望的学者来说,他的结论可以说是他学术生命中的一大悲剧。去世前几个月,汤姆森因在玛雅学研究方面的成就和贡献,被英国女王伊利莎白二世授予骑士称号。而与此同时,已有人撰文说明、而且后来由事实证明:汤姆森的研究方法和结论完全错了。

早在1952年,一位年青的研究古文字的苏联研究生诺罗索夫 (Yuri Knorosov) 就已对汤姆森提出了挑战。诺罗索夫的出现对美国人可以说有些不可思议,因为当时苏联的学术环境和研究条件几乎完全不具备对中美洲玛雅文字的调查和研究。而他完全是单枪匹马闯入这一领域的。对他本人来说,这似乎又是命中注定的。诺罗索夫十七岁时考入莫斯科大学,入学不久二战即开始。他和同胞们一起加入红军,参加了卫国战争,并随军一直打到柏林,参加了最后的攻克柏林的战斗。在攻克柏林时,他经过中弹燃烧的柏林国家图书馆,从火堆中顺手抢救出一本书。这本书恰巧是 1933年德国出版的三本藏于欧洲的玛雅文书手抄本的复印件。他把它带回了莫斯科。而这本书从此决定了他的未来。战后,诺罗索夫回到莫斯科大学完成学业,并进入研究院,专修古埃及文字学,同时做世界古文字古文化的比较研究。他对古埃及文,苏美尔文,中文,和印度河流域古文字都具很深的造诣。他的一位语言文字学导师认为他如在埃及文字学方面发展将前途无量,但他却接受了另一位研究西伯利亚民族学及太平洋和美洲文化导师的挑战。这位导师说:如果你相信任何一个人类创造的书写系统应该用来让人类阅读,那你为什么不去破译玛雅文字呢?

诺罗索夫从学习西班牙语开始,把朗达的笔记作为博士论文的研究内容进行钻研,并从1952年开始连续发表数篇论文。几乎从第一篇文章起,他的研究就走上了正确的轨道。他汇总了藏于欧洲的三本手抄本中287个不同的图形字,分析道:如果玛雅文字完全是拼音文字,那只需要这个数字的一半就足够了;如果它完全是表意文字,那么这个数字远远不足以满足一个高度文明的社会交流的需要。因此他认为玛雅文字是一个语音语义相混合的符号字母系统,类似于苏美尔和中国文字。他从朗达的字母表出发,首先确定它们不是字母,而是辅音元音结合的音节。正象西班牙语的字母的念法是辅音元音相加的,如字母B实际上念be,b是辅音,e是元音。一定是朗达在问玛雅祭司字母B的时候,玛雅人给他的是念作be的字符。根据这一点,诺罗索夫对照有文又有画的手抄本,认读了一部分字词,并从现代不同玛雅语言中得到证实。

现在我们知道,玛雅文字中有140多个有发音价值的音符(正好是诺罗索夫预测的287的一 半!) ,常用的文字总数在1200左右,其中一半以上可以音读,百分之八十五以上的文字结合音读和意读可以翻译。

诺罗索夫这一实质性的突破为以后更多玛雅文字和文法以及文书内容的破译铺平了道路。然而由於当时美苏冷战关系,再加上诺罗索夫的编辑声称他的破译是运用了马克思列宁主义的唯物辩证法的结果,美国的权威学者们本能地对他的研究持怀疑和反对态度。特别是汤姆森,连续发表文章反击这个布尔什维克的 “骗术家” 。 倒是当时几个涉足玛雅学领域不久的年轻学者如寇 Michael Coe和克利David Kelly 意识到了这位苏联同行的价值。1958年,寇和他的俄裔妻子共同翻译 介绍了诺罗索夫的研究。与此同时,克利发现了一些表意符号的规律;而他在哥本哈根国际美洲学学会期间同与会的诺罗索夫的交谈则使他接受了语音学派的方法,促成他进一步把此方法运用到纪念碑刻文中,并于后来发表了卓有影响的著作:《破译玛雅文字》,成为诺罗索夫在美国的主要代言人。

也是1958 年,柏林(Heinrich Berlin),一位出生于德国、在墨西哥市经营杂货批发的业余玛雅学家,从文字结构入手,发现了一些代表地方和城邦的特定文字。六十年代一开始,卡内基研究院的俄裔女学者Tatiana Proskouriakoff 又注意到:有些纪念碑文中记载的时间在文章结构中以六十年左右的间断规律出现,恰好与人的平均生命长度相吻合。继而雄辩地指出:碑文的内容记载的是真人真事,很可能是当地王朝历史的记录。虽然她的发现和柏林的发现一样在方法上都属於结构方法论,并不具有语言文字学的意义,但这一突破却很有文化学和历史学的意义。因为在此之前,另一位玛雅学权威Sylvanus Morley 也迎合汤姆森下结论说玛雅文字只是用于记载历法和 天文怪象以及一些祭祀活动的,而与历史毫无关系。

真正逐字逐句地用语音读出,并整段整篇的翻译出碑文的历史内容,则发生在七十年代初。其时,美国新一代的学者已严肃认真地把诺罗索夫的语音方法用于研究。1973年,两个名不见经传的年轻学者,美国得克萨斯大学美术及美术史教授琳达席勒Linda Schele 和来自澳大利亚的研究生马特Peter Matthew,在墨西哥帕朗开 (Palenque) 的学术研讨会上公布了他们对帕朗开城邦自公元465年至九世纪的王朝编年史。其中包括十二代国王和他们的家室的姓名,头衔,出生及死亡年月,朝代的替换,庆典活动,以及同邻邦的关系等等。至此,玛雅文字的破译基本成功。

琳达席勒也是一位富有传奇色彩的人物。六十年代期间,她的未婚夫被征兵去越南打仗,生死未卜。临走前他们决定结婚,并去墨西哥度蜜月。这时他们俩都刚刚硕士毕业。丈夫获建筑学硕士,琳达获美术硕士并刚找到在一所大学教授美术及美术史的工作。在墨西哥旅游一圈准备回国时,由於飞机晚点,他们要被迫滞留六小时之久。这时有人建议说附近有处玛雅古迹,不仿去看看。没想到这一去竟决定了琳达的未来。位於帕朗开的古代玛雅建筑、雕刻、绘画艺术等等使她非常震惊。而刻满整面整面墙壁的文字至今还没有人能看得懂又使她非常失望。她缠住当时在那里考察的卡内基研究院的几个学者,非要问出个所以然来。他们被她缠得实在无奈,就建议她先去读几本书。从此后她就迷上了玛雅文化,每年暑假必去帕朗开。她的绘画才能派上了很大用场。她不厌其繁地把密密麻麻的刻文描画下来,带回去研究。当她第一次参加帕朗开学术研讨会时,已成为第二代玛雅学术权威的寇和克利等人完全不知道这个来自南部的黄毛丫头。就是在这次研讨会上,琳达和克利派来的研究生马特合作,当场铺开她的描模图,逐字逐句地翻译和解释了几大篇碑文,第一次揭开了玛雅人自己写的历史。

席勒采用的方法是结构+语音。她把能拆开的文字元素都拆开,寻找它们的共同结构特点, 同时把拆开来的元素同朗达的字母表对应拼读,然后把拼读出来的音拿去和不同的几种现代玛雅语言以及五、六种17、18世纪时编纂的玛雅-西班牙语词典相对应,找出解释,再把它们放回句子里去。虽然大部分单音单字只能在多种不同的玛雅语言里找到对应,而且很少有一句完整的句子可以用同一种玛雅语言念通,但当把从不同语言中得到的解释放回句子后,大部分句子都显出逻辑性,并且明确表达出意思。(它们之所以只能如此来拼凑,是因为玛雅文字所代表的语言是一种已经分化和消失的古玛雅语。)席勒的方法现在已被学术界普遍接受,而且随着越来越多的玛雅人的介入,更多的、字典上找不见的字词及概念也由他们介绍进来,促进了对玛雅文字的破译。到目前为止,已有85%以上的文字可以音读和意读了。席勒教授不仅致力于玛雅文字文化的研究,而且年年在危地马拉的玛雅人中办学习班教授玛雅文字,希望把它还给玛雅人,致使已经死亡的玛雅古文字又在玛雅后代中复活了。很多玛雅人现在不仅把自己的西班牙名子改回了真正的玛雅名子,而且堂而皇之地用玛雅文字来书写自己的姓名。

玛雅文字和中国文字相象,都是方块字。但方块中所含成份和内容却大不相 同。中国字一个方块就是一个单音节的字,包括表音和(或)表意符号。而玛雅文字的一个方块中有时只包含一个字符,有时会有两个以上的字或音符,有时则会多到七八个符号。它们既有表音符号又有表意符号。书写时可以横向排列,也可纵向摞起来。一个字符可以根据需要或爱好压扁,拉长,立起,躺下,颠倒,一个套在另一个里,或两个重叠起来。根据字符的不同排列,读法可以是从左往右,或自上而下。当多个音符出现在一个方块里时,它们往往是一个词组或短句。一个句子中的字词可分开放在几个方块里,也可全部挤在一个方块里。长文是由多个方块字整齐排列组成。读法是纵向每两行两行地读。也就是说,先从左往右读两个方块字,再从上往下读下两个方块字。在只有一纵排的情况下,自上而下读。只有一横排的时候,一般是从左往右,偶而也有从右往左读的。

笔者在跟随席勒教授学习时曾在她的指导下把一篇称为九十六字碑的纪念文翻译成中文。这篇碑文刻在一块长2.5米宽1.5米左右的石板上,整齐排列有九十六个方块字。因其文字书写优美规范,文法和碑文内容极具典型性,学者们常把它用作范文,由它入门而理解玛雅文字和历史。碑文简明扼要地叙述了帕朗开城邦自国王帕卡尔以来的四位统治者的继位和统治的时间。内容大意是:在帕卡尔当朝期,他建造了王宫中的白石宫。四十八年之后(公元702年),他的儿子康巴拉姆在白石宫继位。十九年之后,另一位王亲恰卡尔也在白石宫登极。又过了四十二年,恰卡尔的儿子巴伦库克在同一宫内继位登极。此碑为巴伦库克顺利渡过第一个卡同当政期(二十年)而刻。

跟世界上其它文字一样,玛雅文字所书写的内容非常广泛。从天文历法、神话传说、宗教祭祀,到政治、历史、军事、外交等等,可以说应有尽有。它不仅全面地记录了玛雅文化诸方面,还统一和加强了玛雅文明发展的进程,使玛雅文化并列于世界其它四大古文明。虽然玛雅文明的辉煌时期已成为过去,但对它的了解却极大地丰富了我们人类发展历史的文库。玛雅文字的破译最终揭开了玛雅文化神秘的面貌。

Thursday, August 13, 2009

与朋友讨论新疆问题

CP三句话不离本行 – 经济模式,而我恰恰对此是外行,不敢妄加评论。我是个非常感性的人(这从我的文章可以看出),只能从感性出发谈感受。新疆问题涉及到政治、经济、国防、军事、民族、宗教、文化、语言、现代化、全球化、反恐等诸多错综复杂的关系,可以说是一团乱麻。CP条分缕析,不仅提供详细数据和理论框架,而且提出具体的解决办法,值得琢磨。下面我按照CP的顺序倒着来说。

首先,解决方法。
一、 剩余劳力的出路。
在市场经济刺激下,新疆少数民族外出谋生的人口已经很多,比如饮食业和服装零售业,全国各大城市都有街边卖烤羊肉的和新疆餐厅,以及民族服装摊位;CP所提议的教授民族歌舞也早已遍及很多大城市;这种方法已经不灵。真正的剩余劳力的出路在于新疆自己消化:1)让少数民族进入石油大军(这个行业对少数民族一直是禁区,不让他们加入);2)让少数民族进入基本建设行业,比如建筑业(他们很少被给予机会),不能老认为他们素质不高、工作质量不高;越不给他们机会就越提高不了质量。3)适当控制内地的剩余劳力大量涌入新疆。

二、 小省制,自治县、乡、村等。
内蒙已经被缩小了很多,不知道缩小后的成效如何;新疆如果变成南北两个省,至少会有两个棘手的问题:1)行政分离无法把宗教也分离开;维吾尔族的凝聚力在于宗教和文化习俗;2)南疆维族人口比例大约90%-95%,地理上也远在边陲,建南疆省势必更有独立的土壤和条件。这类提议过去早有人提过,但都没有实施,想必不是那么简单的事。

三、 治安问题分级管理,独立决定。
这一点我很同意。我不太清楚现在政府部门是如何对待这个问题。但是在新疆的公安部门,我知道侦查、破案、以至最后的行动全都依靠少数民族干警;当他们责任在身,正义感和责任感就会义无反顾地展现出来。我知道一位维族高级反恐侦查员,新疆的大案子几乎全都经他的手破案,公安局根本离不开他,是个宝贝。我还碰到一件事:几年前回乌鲁木齐,约好和一位童年时的朋友吃饭,他是公检法系统的一个头儿。结果左等右等不见他来,晚上很晚了他才打来一个电话,一听声音就是疲惫不堪的样子,告诉我他来吃饭的路上接到电话,他手下一名年轻的维族警察,在市场上抓一个小偷时被小偷的同伙(都是维族)用刀捅伤,他赶到时小伙子还有一口气,等送到医院时,医院一定要两万人民币押金才抢救,他气急了,拿出自己身上所有的现金,也就两、三千,又亮出自己的工作证,同时打电话通知单位送钱来,这才把小伙子送上手术台,但也已经晚了。十九岁的小警察就这样死了。

四、 通过通婚达到民族融合
从政治上来讲,通婚有利于统治和管理;从经济上讲,有利于竞争和全球化;从生物学讲;有杂交优势;从文化人类学来讲,通婚无异于种族灭绝!我不认为需要提倡通婚。这应该是一种自然的和社会淘汰两方面的缓慢衍化过程。虽然现在事实上仍然是“弱肉强食、适者生存”的环境,但是人类已经文明进化到可以有意识有计划地保护稀有和频临灭绝的动植物的程度;我相信到一定时候,我们也许需要象保护大熊猫一样地保护少数民族和他们的文化。

其次,问题根源。
一、 人口和经济政策。
我同意西藏,新疆,内蒙的人口稀少是生态所造成的。但CP所提到的对少数民族不限制生育指标并不是问题所在。内蒙的大面积沙漠化问题跟汉族农民的大量移入并且大量变草场为农田直接相关。新疆北疆的问题和内蒙相似,牧区变为农业区;而南疆本来就是由很有限的沙漠绿洲构成,每片绿洲的水源及可耕地都非常非常有限,我们的政策却是不断地向新疆移入汉族农民。少数民族的人口增长是自然的,而政策性的大量移民却是人为的、从生态学的角度说是有毁灭性后果的。

二、 语言。
少数民族的语言毫无疑问属于非物质文化遗产保护的范畴。如果哪一个小语种被自然淘汰,那谁也没有办法。但是作为一个文明社会,我们似乎都有责任有意识地防止这些语言消失。双语教育跟保护稀有语种毫不冲突。双语教育有一半是为少数民族考虑的:在保留自己语言的同时学习汉语对他们的文化、经济发展都只有好处、没有坏处;但是另一半应该是针对汉族的,在少数民族地区工作的汉人、尤其是政府部门的工作人员,应该要求会听说至少一种少数民族语言。美国有几个西班牙语种使用率高的州,政府雇人时会英语和西班牙语的人就受到优先考虑。说到世界性语言英语,新疆的少数民族学起来比汉族都快,而且都准确。但是哪个汉族人敢而且愿意把英语作为中国的官方语言推广使用?那不是意味着汉语、汉文化、中华文明全部都要跟着消亡吗?

最后,关于民族矛盾和民主化的问题。
我基本同意CP分析的那样:计划经济体制下的民族和睦比较容易,但在市场经济的冲击下,民族矛盾就日益凸显。但是我不明白为什么民主化程度越高,民族矛盾就越难解决?从政治体制上讲,在专制国家,民族矛盾被高压压制着,所以表面上还过得去;但在民主国家,至少解决的方式都更为人性化和人道主义;在美国,至少近五十年内是这样。我是研究美洲印第安各民族文化的,中美洲的墨西哥和危地马拉在对待西班牙裔和印第安土著,如玛雅人和艾兹台克人,的问题上,就远不如美国对待它的印第安各部落。当然这里面牵扯了经济条件的好坏。美国可以用实惠的金钱物质来安抚少数民族,但也不能不说这是它的文明程度和人道主义发达的一面,不能不说也是民主制度的结果之一。

是不是可以这样说:从专制向民主制转型的时期,当原先被压制的矛盾遇到较为宽松自由的环境就爆发出来,形成暂时的民族矛盾和民主制度的反比现象,而不是因为民主化而导致更多的矛盾而更难解决?

另外,HZP提议的在新疆采用以色列的加沙模式,我不敢苟同。新疆,特别是北疆,汉族和维族及其他少数民族,从工作地点到商业区到居住区,到处都是混杂在一起,你中有我,我中有你,根本不可能分开、甚至分不清。很难想象在新疆建立一个汉族区、维族区、哈萨克区、乌兹别克区、塔吉克区、柯尔克孜区,如此等等十三个民族区会是怎样一种状况。那似乎会制造更多的民族矛盾,甚至会方便各族间的争斗甚至战争。胡耀邦当初让西藏和新疆的汉族干部后撤就已经引起了很多矛盾和问题。其实,美国是一个现成的可借鉴的例子。它把白人、黑人、犹太人、西班牙人、南美洲人、中国人、印度人、阿拉伯人,等等等等,放进一个大熔炉里融化,而不是划分到不同的州去实行民族自治。虽然也有矛盾,但总的来说各种族之间还是趋于比较平衡的状态。我们是否也可以从这个方向去考虑并做些尝试?中国人在国外也是少数民族。我是不能想象自己和所有其他中国人被限制在某个中国城里工作和居住。

谢CP给我一个机会仔细整理了一下新疆问题。我不善于理论分析,还请各位批评指教。

Monday, August 3, 2009

七月思绪难缕

过去的十几年中,每年七月这个时候已经是在乌鲁木齐了。夏天的乌鲁木齐,尤其是近郊的南山,是绝好的避暑胜地。进到山里,租一哈萨克牧民的毡房,喝碗奶茶,饮杯马奶子酒,再大吃大嚼些手扒羊肉,然后躺在松软的山坡草地上,蓝天白云,远处牛马悠闲地吃着草,身边羊群咩咩地欢叫着,一幅美丽惬意的田园夏日景色。每次回去,我都免不了要跟朋友们唠叨,真想永远住在这里。是啊,过腻了现代化生活,回来寻求田园生活。可这里的农民牧民却渴望走出去,追求现代化生活。这恐怕是永远的矛盾。

回新疆,对我来说是回家。我出生在乌鲁木齐,五岁时随父母调动去南疆,大学时又回到乌鲁木齐,直到八十年代初才离开新疆去北京读研工作,后来又到美国继续深造工作。无论走到哪里,人们问起来,我都说自己是新疆人,并为是新疆人而自豪。新疆是个好地方。谁不把自己的家园当成好地方?

再回去,自然是探望父母兄长。父母五四年进疆至今,在那里渡过了半个多世纪的风风雨雨。母亲去,是因为当时的自治区妇联主任玛依奴尔 (新疆三区革命领袖阿合买提江遗孀)在北京开会时遇到母亲,认定要让她去办新疆妇女杂志,便一次又一次地跟西北妇联交涉,硬是把母亲从西北局挖到了新疆。玛依奴尔性格热情开朗,见人不是握着手不放,就是张开双臂拥抱,汉话也说得非常流利,我妈妈很喜欢她。母亲的工作主要是编辑杂志,但也要下乡做妇女卫生保健宣传工作;小到画简图教妇女如何用烧过的沙子做卫生带,大到宣传说服村民们杜绝近亲结婚生育。五十年代新疆农村贫穷落后,没有任何卫生条件可言,老乡们用的手纸就是土坷垃。有个回族乡由于宗教原因,不允许本族人和外族通婚,结果造成人口很大比例的畸形及智障。可以想象当时干部的工作环境和任务。

父亲随母亲一起调往新疆,在一家出版社作编辑。那会儿的工作中心都是改变新疆贫穷落后状况,建设社会主义新新疆。所以父亲也是经常下乡,搞社教,南北疆各处跑。后来南疆某地区要恢复和重建日报社,又把父亲调去。其实很多年后父亲才知道,他当时是被单位暗自戴上“右派言论”的帽子而发配去南疆的。在南疆的时光,地区几乎所有的文化宣传和艺术展览组织工作都由父亲包干了。那里文化干部奇缺,父亲一个人恨不得要干十个人的工作。除了报纸编辑采访工作,地区文化宫是他最常去的地方。他在那里举办维汉青少年绘画学习班,业余美术爱好者作品展览,培养了一代又一代的美术工作者和画家。尽管生活艰苦,精神受压抑,搞艺术的父亲母亲却抓住了那里的美。这里的昆仑山,大沙漠,胡杨林,红柳丛,小毛驴,热闹的巴扎(集市),白胡子老汉,长辫子姑娘,大眼睛巴郎子(小男孩),全都成了他们画笔下最好的素材。在他们的眼里,新疆是个美丽的地方。

父亲母亲在新疆付出了自己的全部人生理想,渡过了生命的大部分时光,新疆也自然成为他们生命的一部分。退休后,他们认新疆为家,即不回内地,也执意不来美国定居。二老均年近八旬,回去探望他们,儿孙辈自然无可推辞。

可我偏偏今年因有其它计划决定暑期不回去了,而偏偏就发生了暴乱的事。

那个周末是美国独立日长周末。为了享受几天大自然,也为了把女儿从电脑前拉开一段时间,一家人去露营钓鱼。野外,天高气爽;青山、绿水、小镇、木屋、一派世外桃源景色,令人乐不思蜀。我们住的小木屋离河边不足十步远,河水清清,孩子们在清凉的河水里游泳,漂流,钓鱼,晚上就在哗哗的河流声中入睡,别是一番情调。

我平生第一次钓鱼。趁着一家人去镇上飞钓中心展览馆参观、我留守小木屋的机会,在河边试着甩鱼杆。甩了足足半个钟头才甩出点儿感觉来。后来居然还钓出水面一条巴掌大的鱼,可惜跑了。其实我完全没有要钓上鱼的欲望。甩甩鱼杆,活动活动筋骨,吸吸新鲜空气,晒晒太阳,看看远山近水,听听小河流水声和鸟的欢唱,足矣。不成想,这甩杆还甩出了点瘾头和体会。甩出去,拉回来,再甩出去,再拉回来。甩好了,直线飞出;甩不好了,鱼钩落在脚底,弄不好还会钩上自己。虽然是简单的重复动作,却也不会腻烦。在不闻车马喧的山野里,我发现这是一种绝好的静思习禅方式。不厌其烦地甩杆垂钓,摆出一副姜太公钓鱼,愿者上钩的架势,即可以彻底放松神经,还可以忘却一切烦心杂事,全神贯注于一根鱼杆,一轴鱼线,一枚小小的鱼钩。就冲这,钓上钓不上鱼都无关紧要了。

在美国过美国国庆,除了刚来几年去看新鲜,看看美国人民是如何庆祝自己的建国日,焰火啊,音乐会啊什么的。时间长了,便也无所谓了。找个安静的去处休闲休闲倒是更实际。不过,在这安静的山里,四号那天,仍然没有免去庆祝的热闹。清早去小镇,仅有大约五十米长的主要街道两旁,三三两两地有人或站着或坐在街边,路口有辆警车,一问,原来是镇上的国庆游行。游行队伍统共不到三十人,由老年公民和小学生们组成,在旁边一条小街道整装待发。人少,却有模有样的。晚上在我们的宿营地,一些邻居还集中地燃放了不少自带的炮仗焰火,给这僻静的野外带来一些爱国气氛。

美国独立日的庆祝活动多半是人们自发的,参不参加也完全自愿,形式多种多样。人们的爱国热情和批评精神同时并存,自然而真实。美国的国父们从一开始就为自己的国家制定了合理的民主政治社会制度,而且在后来的发展进程中不断调整改进,这使得美国能够在短短不到三百年的时间内成为世界政治经济强国。今年又创新历史:有一半黑人血统的奥巴玛当选总统。他这个少数民族还不同于其他少数民族,正是少数民族中最受歧视的黑人。别的什么都不用说,凭这一点,美国这个国家就堪称伟大的国家。也是凭这一点,美国人民就可以为自己的国家而自豪。

自由,安定,公平,这是我在美国二十多年的最大感受。

知道乌鲁木齐的消息已经是这边的7月6号中午。

野营回来一觉醒来已快中午,惯性地先打开电脑看看E邮。最先进入视线的是中国方块字,哥哥的。只在主题一栏写着:“给妈打个电话”。打开一看,没有正文。有点神神秘秘的。再看看时间,已是那边午夜12点。有些晚了,还是晚上打吧。第二个E邮来自一位苏州的朋友,一打开便跳出几张大火冲天的楼房,底盘朝天横卧街道的汽车,地面大片血迹的图片。就一行小字:乌市动乱情况。不好!马上给父母拨电话,就已经再也拨不通。

不协调,太不协调了。脑子里还转悠着钓鱼的禅境,眼前却看着刚刚发生的流血事件。大脑简直转不过弯来。转身告诉老公新疆出事了,他第一反应是:七月有什么特殊日子?

七月有什么特殊日子?

七月一日,中国共产党成立纪念日 -- 党的生日;
七月四日,美国独立日 -- 美国的国庆节;
七月十四日,巴士底狱革命日 -- 法国国庆节。

哪一个都和动乱套不上关系啊!反对共产党,应该是七·一;抗议美国,应该是七·四;抵制法国货,应该是七月十四,两个过了期,一个还没到。到底发生了什么?

特殊的纪念日无疑都有象征意义。怨不得在正常情况下,我家老公首先想到的是带有纪念性的活动。最近的六·四纪念日就是好例子。今年六月四日是天安门事件二十周年,港澳特区及国外的纪念活动在这前后几日此起彼伏。再有,八十八年前的七月一日,中国共产党诞生,后来年年庆祝纪念。而二十二年前的七月一日,老公恰好在那天乘飞机离开祖国北京,来到美国。纯粹是偶然,但在我,却总有一种象征的意味。

老公曾是中国国家某首脑机关的一名小干部。虽小,却可以随便出入中南海,甚至夏天的午休时间都是在中南海的游泳池游泳渡过。他申请留学美国时,他的上司勃然大怒:共产党员,XXX机关的干部,怎么可以出国?不行! 所以,后来在他几经周折终于出来后,七月一日离开那天就象是埋下了某种象征性伏笔。

没过两年,天安门前学潮、民运,紧接着政府的血腥镇压。中国共产党历史上,中华人民共和国历史上第一次留下了政府军镇压手无寸铁、和平请愿学生的可耻记录。人民军队向人民开枪,这对我们这些生在新中国长在红旗下的一代人来说无疑是当头一棒。在此之前,没有人会想到军队真会开枪。当天安门形势开始紧张时,有美国朋友担心地问我,我还满怀信心地回答,中国政府不会向自己的人民开枪,顶多就是吓唬吓唬。连当过兵见过政府内部黑暗的老公也是这样认为的。

由于工作关系,老公曾经接触过政府的阴暗面,痛感工作人员对不公不平事件的无能为力、无可奈何。在一个习惯于皇帝恩赐的王国,一个法律不健全甚至无效的国家,一个从上到下没有民主民权民生意识的社会,大多冤假错案都得不到正义的伸张,更不要说那些政治案件了。一个小小国家干部岂能扭转乾坤?

天安门广场学生们提出的政治体制改革一项,实际上国务院在赵紫阳总理旨意下在一、两年前已经开始考虑。他们组建智囊班子,举办专题研讨会,已经着手改革准备工作。象有些人期待的那样,如果学生们当时能够耐心等待,也许赵紫阳能够平稳过渡到政改。但是,惨案还是发生了。

天安门前的枪声和长安街头的血迹,摧毁了我们的幼稚幻想。自古以来,天安只为天子之安,长安只有皇家之长安。海外留学生当即发起抗议游行活动。芝加哥的万人抗议游行大会,华盛顿的示威集会,这些是我们唯一能做的事,义不容辞,都去了。在芝加哥大会上,有人提议在场中共党员公开签名退党,以示抗议。

老公向来喜欢吹嘘自己的党龄。他十几岁参军,二十岁入党,在工厂作过车间主任,在大学里是学生党支部书记;在同龄人中的确算是老党员了。老党员对党是有感情的。尽管知道很多党内的腐败现象,知道政府不少的肮脏交易,更被六·四血腥事件猛击一棒,他还是不愿意就这样退出。他尤其不想让自己的名字出现在台湾的报纸上。共产党和国民党对立了一辈子,现在让国民党的报刊登载共产党员退出共产党的声明,他还想给共产党留点面子,还想维护些自己追求过的理想。于是,他决定私下里作这件事。

七月一日前夕,他给原单位党组织发去一封长信,申明不愿再与沾满人民鲜血的党为伍,宣布退党。可笑的是,共产党杀了几百名无辜的学生市民,都不觉得失了大面子,在这封个人的信件上却大作文章,试图挽回点面子。不久,国内两个朋友辗转告知,中共组织通报开除XXX出党。明明是人家个人退党,他们却说是开除人家。还有比这个更荒唐的事情吗?

至此,七月一日在我家有了几重象征意义。

可是,七月五日,星期天,全世界的休息日,应该是平静悠闲的一天,能有什么事呢?

我宁愿相信是维族学生们的和平抗议活动。

听说,学生们先是在自治区党委门前的人民广场抗议游行,外圈的人还手拉手以防和围观的群众发生冲突;听说,武警强行驱散了游行人员;又听说,被驱散的队伍不服气,很快在市区的几个街道中心集结并进行打、砸、抢、烧,甚至杀人的行为;还听说,是武警先开枪射击和平抗议队伍,才引起了后来的动乱。很快又传言,杀人者杀的绝大多数是汉族人,而两天后,汉人组织起来报复;维汉两族人民形成对立。两三天内,死亡人数达到一百八十多,受伤人数达到一千八百多。

是六·四式的和平抗议,还是预谋的暴乱活动?为什么是在两个民族之间发生?

看报道,事情的起因是远在千里之外的广东韶关一家玩具厂先前发生了维汉工人打架斗殴致使两名维族工人被打死。在汉族人的地盘打死外来工作的少数民族工人,我想,怎么说凶手都要被法办,怎么说汉族人都要做检讨。而新疆的维族学生为这些维族工人的伤亡举行抗议声援也应该是正当的。可结果却是更大的骚乱,更多的伤亡,更强烈的民族仇恨。

事件就发生在我们熟悉的和曾经居住过的大街小巷,实在令人难以置信。那些地方仍然还有我们的亲人、朋友和同学。我父母亲就住在闹事地点之一,而他们的老邻居老朋友,同一个工作单位的维族人家就住在对门。周围发生了如此令人震惊的维汉仇杀,这让双方的老朋友们都感到痛心和尴尬。游行抗议者为扩大影响而在这些人口聚集的地方打死打伤如此之多的无辜百姓,砸烂烧毁商店、汽车,无疑是改变了他们的初衷。这样的滥打滥杀无辜令人愤慨;肇事者应该受到谴责,凶手应该依法受到惩办。

新疆是十三个民族共同的家,也是中国不可分割的一部分。早从汉代开始,汉武帝遣张骞出使西域、在轮台建校尉使,随后又建西域都护,汉兵汉民在天山南北多处戍边屯田,已经成为西域的主要民族之一。汉以降,柔然、突厥、吐蕃、回纥、契丹、蒙古,虽然都统治过西域,但都依次被北魏、隋、唐、辽、元、清统一,归属中央政权。其中的回纥,即维吾尔,唐代以后,从漠北进入新疆,逐渐成为新疆人口最多的民族,但也始终与中原保持着行政关系。十几个世纪来,新疆的十多个民族尽管不时有摩擦、纠纷、械斗,甚至战争,但最终都是以“和”为结局,而且谁也没有离开过中国的版图。

中华人民共和国成立之际,国民党军队及政府起义,新疆和平解放。新疆的和平解放,一是解放军大兵压境、大势所趋;二是以新疆三区革命为代表的民族革命军给驻疆国民政府以威胁,二者相辅相成,取得胜利。解放后,新疆成立维吾尔自治区,成为在共产党领导下各族人民共同管理和建设的行政区。那时,各族人民团结一致、同心协力,建设和发展新新疆。维族汉族之间关系融洽,互相尊重;汉族干部严格遵守民族政策,维族干部积极主动配合。别的不说,机关大院里,维族汉族住在一起,平时互相帮助,互相串门,节日里互相拜年。我记得小时候住过的一排房子,四家汉族,三家维族。有一家维族人家在门口做了一个馕坑,隔两个星期就要打一次馕,每次打馕都要叫我妈妈把和好的面拿去帮我们打。院子里的汉族小孩也几乎都是被维族阿帕(奶奶)或阿娜(阿姨)带大的。就是现在,我父母家对门的维族大妈出门时还常常会把家门钥匙留在我家,以防儿女回家时没有钥匙,来我家取。

我自己也有很多维、哈、柯尔克孜、乌兹别克、回、蒙、锡伯族同学和朋友。我初中时的一位同班同学巴海古丽,曾经充当过一段动人的民族友爱故事的主角。五十年代时,巴海古丽的妈妈和其他一些维族姑娘被派往苏州丝绸厂学习缫丝纺织,她隐瞒了自己已有身孕的情况来到苏州,结果在苏州生下了巴海。由于水土不服,工作繁忙,她妈妈没有足够的奶水喂她。碰巧同车间的一位汉族师傅刚生过孩子不久,就把巴海古丽抱去一块儿喂养,直到新疆学员们学习完毕,返回新疆。十多年后,这位汉族师傅的一个儿子去新疆支边,碰巧来到我们这个地区。他四处打听当年那个维吾尔族妹妹,却一直没有结果。原来是巴海的妈妈回来不久就被调往另外一个地区,把女儿留给了外婆。直到七十年代,当我妈妈从支边青年那里听说这件事后,以记者的身份开始帮忙寻找,用了两年多时间,最后才在我们学校、我的班里、我的座位旁边找到了这位生于苏州、被汉族妈妈喂养过的维族女孩儿。他们兄妹见面时,我也去了,大家都很激动。我妈妈很快把这个故事画成了长篇连环画。后来听说,九十年代时,苏州电视台又把巴海请去苏州与汉族妈妈相见。这样的亲情关系,何以能产生仇恨?

二零零七年,将近三十年后我重返南疆,高中时的三个维族男同学见到我热情非凡。一位是现任我们曾经下乡接受再教育的那个县的县长,亲派专人陪我回当年插队的公社农场、去当年修建过的水库大坝。另外两位是地区的某某局长和书记。听说我在研究丝绸之路文化,其中一位毫不客气地对我说:你研究丝路文化怎么能不回新疆?怎么能不到我们维族人家来?你必须要到我们家来!维族同学说话痛快直率,维族同学跳舞潇洒奔放。跟他们在一起玩儿很开心。我所认识的维族同学朋友中也不乏智商极高的精英。一位大学同班同学不仅是语言天才,而且是下象棋、围棋的好手,在我们系里经常做第一把交椅。这位大学教授,近两年一直在主持《突厥语大辞典》的英文翻译,一项非常有意义的工作。

《突厥语大辞典》是十二世纪出生于南疆喀什的一位维吾尔族作者编纂的一本包括突厥语言、文化历史、风俗及地理的词典。这部词典为后人留下了无可替代的历史和文化资料,具有极高的价值。它是维吾尔人的智慧结晶,也是维吾尔人的光荣和骄傲。

不过很奇怪,我曾经被新疆的汉族网友告诫过不可在网上随便谈论突厥语大辞典。我一直想不明白为什么,但让我联想起新疆双语教育问题。记得有两三次回国时和老同学谈起借鉴美国双语教育及双语管理的经验在新疆实施维汉语教育问题,一位来自新疆、现任国内某名牌大学教授的汉族同学和我有同感,却同样告诫我:这事不可提。原来他曾经正儿八经地撰文论双语教育的必要性,不但文章被枪毙,还招惹来很多批评。另一位跟我关系更近的汉族同学,多年来就是国家民族问题专家和智囊人物,却对我说了相反的话。她认为,全国少数民族的比例不到5%(近些年有所提高),新疆的维吾尔族不到全国的1%,这样小的比例完全没有必要考虑双语教育、双语行政。她认定:他们要想发展、要想就业,就必须学汉语!我曾经反问过:那你有没有考虑文化传承问题?有没有考虑在新疆,维族是多数民族,而汉族是少数民族?为什么在新疆多数民族语言不能成为官方语言、甚至连双语都不予考虑?为什么维族人找工作必须要会汉语,而汉族人就业就可以完全不懂维语?她的回答是:如果给维族双语机会,那势必其他所有少数民族都会提出同样的要求,全国五十五个民族都这样,那不就乱套了?她觉得我太天真,太理想主义了。“新疆的问题没那么简单!” 她告诫我。

我只知道,有一次在乌鲁木齐大街上等公共汽车,一位维族中年妇女过来问路,她不懂汉语,我不会维语,比划半天她还是没懂,结果失望地走开了。我当时心里很不是滋味。尽管新疆是十三个民族的共同家园,维吾尔族毕竟是最多数民族,而且作为多数民族在新疆已有一千多年的历史。他们在自己的家园听不懂官话,找不到路途,不敢乘公共车,心里能舒服吗?

民族问题的确比较复杂,但是政府的民族政策是否问题更大?七·五事件以来的三个多星期,很多人都在谈论中央对新疆的倾斜政策,但大多都是指对少数民族的优惠政策,大多都认为是这些优惠政策助长了维族的骄横。可我看到的却正好相反。改革开放以来的二十多年,汉人大量涌入新疆,虽然经济有所提高,但是政府却没有给这些新移民最起码的民族文化、民族政策教育。新移民完全不懂民族关系,很多人打心眼儿里就认为少数民族愚昧、落后、野蛮,根本没有要尊重人家的意识。新疆有石油、天然气,但是完全由中央控制,自治区没有任何权利过问;甚至本末倒置 – 西气东输的两端,新疆和上海,上海的天然气居然比新疆还要便宜。民族干部,虽然在每一级的岗位都配备一名,但他们很少有自主权,几乎都是虚设。

去年回疆(也是在七月),我的一位同行、老朋友,某大学某学院的院长、教授,维族哈萨克族血统兼半,宴请从北京来的十几位领导及学者,顺便也请了我和另一位从美国回国探亲的朋友。作为东道主,在大家吃饱喝足后,这位朋友发表一通讲话。也许由于在座的大多数是研究文化的同行,有些早就是老相识,朋友说话便涉及到一些新疆的问题。这位朋友,论汉语口才,我们在座的汉族人全都自比不如;论知识,他是留德博士、并有多本研究专著;论能力,他领导大学里最大的一个学院兼一个研究所,搞的不仅有声有色而且硕果累累。他要说起来,那就不是简单地抱怨,而是有水平的分析和批评。但他每每提到民族政策或者敏感事件,另外三位维族教授就会跳起来阻止他说,而且赶紧关门关窗户,阻止不了时就要把他架出去。朋友们是怕他惹祸。他那些批评的话弄不好会让他丢了乌纱帽,而且招来更多的麻烦。这就是新疆所有民族干部都会遇到的窘境 – 有话不敢说。

我认识这位朋友多年了,从来没有听到他抱怨过,也从来没见过他说话如此沉重过。看样子他是压抑得很久了,非一吐为快不可。他说了很多很多。当说到新疆少数民族一有什么事就会被联系到恐怖主义时,他举出一串其他省市爆炸放火凶杀的案例,质问我们所有在座的人:为什么其他地方出事不是恐怖活动?而新疆出个小小的事情,连最一般的刑事案件甚至情杀之类,都要被冠以恐怖活动?难道新疆的穆斯林都是恐怖分子吗?

那天的结局是,这位朋友突然冲到我的面前,两手扳着我的肩头,说:你出生在新疆,了解新疆,你说句公道话,我说的对不对?平心而论,我知道他说的都是实情,所以不加思索地点了一下头。没想到他把我扳的更紧,用标准的英语对我说:“Kiss me!”再不懂英语的人也能听懂这句话。大家伙众目睽睽,我们双方在僵持。我没有碰到过这种情况,显然他的要求不在我们个人之间。我尽量向他解释我理解他的心情,也知道中间的一些不公正,请他放开我,但是他坚决不肯。为了摆脱尴尬,我快速在他的额头吻了一下。他立刻放开了手,连说几声谢谢,掉下了眼泪。

后来,我一直酝酿写一篇题为“忏悔”的文章,却始终无法动笔。我要忏悔什么?忏悔自己的荒唐解脱行为?忏悔汉族人的大汉族主义?忏悔政府的不平衡政策?可是,我能代表汉族人吗?我能代表当权者吗?我知道自己的行为是廉价的同情,充其量只能向他证明一个汉族人对一个少数民族的理解,却不能公开站出来为他们做任何实质性工作。作为个人,我能干什么?

七月五日的暴乱,明眼人都能看出,有很大部分是积怨太深的结果。我知道我的很多汉族朋友都认为解决办法只有高压。我并不想为暴徒们开脱,罪犯理应受到法律的惩治。但是,在当今文明高度发达的社会,高压是不是唯一的有效方法?高压是否会造成对整个维吾尔民族和所有穆斯林的更多的歧视?是否会加深民族间的矛盾和隔阂?是否会引起更强烈的反抗?

作为强大民族的一员,我总认为我们自己有很多需要检讨的地方。起码在最一般意义上的对少数民族的尊重。汉人的历史上从来都视少数民族为蛮夷。就是现在,我的一些专搞文化艺术研究的同学朋友,包括在国内国际享有声誉的权威人物,竟也认为“能歌善舞的民族都是落后的民族”。我为我的汉族同胞们感到羞耻。有这样的民族心理,我不能想象,中国这样一个具有五千年文明史的泱泱大国能够在哪一天允许一个少数民族当选国家主席或总统。真要有那一天,各民族也许才能真正平起平坐地对话。

七月已经结束。时至今日,事过四个星期,我仍然无法给父母打通电话,也无法跟哥哥互通E邮。一个强大的政府如此草木皆兵似乎大可不必。强大在于自信。我真心希望政府能够通过这次事件的恰当解决而提高自己在各民族中的威信,成为一个人民值得信赖的政府。

七月五日,一个平常的休息日,从此成为一个特殊的纪念日,从此进入新疆的历史。

而我对新疆 – 我的故乡,仍然是:剪不断、理还乱。

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

瀚海花絮

黑风

南疆有黄风和黑风之说,不象现在时髦的说法一概称为沙尘暴。黄风程度小些,刮起来天昏地暗,天地不明,在南疆司空见惯。黑风沙子的密度大些,刮过来时铺天盖地,有如夜晚降临,日夜难分。黑风在我的印象中只遇见过两次。记忆深刻的一次发生在六十年代的一个下午:先是听见有人在院里叫喊说黑风来了,妈妈也从办公室往家跑,让我们关好门窗;我跑出门外探头一看,天已经黑了大半边。等关好门窗,外面已是漆黑一片,家家都开亮了灯。一阵狂风过后,家里桌面上、地面上留下了足有半寸厚的沙尘。


黄沙

六十年代有一部叫做《黄沙绿浪》的电影,演的好像是新疆的兵团战士在沙漠中开荒种田的生活。具体情节记不清了,只知道妈妈的一幅画在里面什么人家的墙上露了一下。黄沙是南疆的特色:黄得火热,黄得天上地下。我们每天都是头顶着沙子、脚走在沙土里过日子的。过去小城和田只有两个露天电影院。每次看完电影回来,头上身上总有一层沙子,鸡毛掸子都不管用,必须用皮条做的打子打掉沙子,再脱下鞋磕干净里面的沙子,才可以进屋。

白杨

为了阻挡风沙的不断侵蚀,南疆人多年来一直不懈地种植防风林带。那些笔直穿天的白杨树,一排排、一行行地,即遮挡风沙保护绿洲,又美化环境悦人眼目。尤其那些道路两旁的穿天杨,像是绿色长廊;惬意的绿荫,映衬着姑娘们的红头巾花裙子还有老汉们的小毛驴车;一幅南疆美景。穿天杨不怕狂风、正直不弯、永远向上的性格,也常常给人一种精神鼓舞。茅盾几十年前写的《白杨礼赞》正是被大西北这样的白杨所感动而发出的心声。



红柳

红柳是沙漠中的美丽和骄傲。在茫茫浩瀚的黄色沙海中,她们那深紫色的细枝和淡紫色的花絮,配上嫩绿色的尖叶,为沙漠添上温柔和生命。在单调而缺少色彩的知青生活时,我偶尔会折下一小枝红柳摆在六人睡的大通铺自己的枕头上,点缀一下。红柳有一种谦逊大方的美,不炫耀,不张扬。她们的身干和根须永远埋藏在沙包下,可以深入地下十几二十米,尽可能地为自己保存水分和养料,同时也固定住沙包的流动。露在沙包外面的是春天抽发出来的嫩枝芽,象窈窕淑女;隐蔽在地下的是长年积累而皱褶满身的树干,象饱经风霜的老妪。



胡杨

胡杨树是沙漠中的老英雄,生命极为顽强。维族老乡称赞胡杨树“活着一千年不倒,倒下一千年不死,死了一千年不朽”。胡杨的叶子可以几变:年轻时象柳叶,中年时象杨树叶,老年时变成梧桐叶形状;而且往往在同一棵树上就可共同生长着几种不同的叶状。胡杨的枝条还可长成须状的,犹如老神仙的长胡须。胡杨林中横七竖八地歪着躺着形状各异的枯树,天然成趣,形成自然的树雕、根雕艺术博物馆。看胡杨林最好的季节是深秋。那时的树叶变成了金黄色,偶尔带点儿红色,方圆几里、几十里的地面都被染上壮丽的色彩。

骆驼刺

骆驼刺浑身长满刺儿,象个大刺猬,是沙漠中最常见的棘草丛。骆驼刺灰绿色,开的花有小拇指头大,紫色,很好看;因骆驼爱吃,所以被叫做骆驼刺。骆驼刺的刺儿有大头针那么大小粗细,嫩时不太扎人,老了后扎人很厉害。我一直搞不明白,为什么骆驼的嘴唇不怕扎。三十多年前下乡插队时,冬季一项农活是砍骆驼刺沤肥。当时尽管没有生态意识,但也不忍心砍断这些顽强生长在沙漠里的生命。我们不但砍了它们,还砍了很多,背都背不回来。为了把它们打成捆,人要踩上去压实,有时草垛大得人全身都得趴上去。我一条自捻、自纺、自织的羊毛裤至今还能摸索出当年留下的骆驼刺。

沙枣

沙枣树也是沙漠植物。没见过没吃过沙枣的人无论如何是想象不出它的模样、口感及味道的。我们从小就学会了吃沙枣。会吃的,可以吃出它的香甜,越吃越爱吃;不会吃的,真正如同嚼沙,没准儿还会呛着、噎着自己。沙枣外表看上去跟一般的枣差不多大,里面却是一包“干面粉”。你想,嚼干面粉是什么感觉?可我们就吃出它的好吃了:沙、甜;特沙、特甜。

沙枣花很诱人。它是很小的小黄花,开满在细树枝上,香味异常浓郁,几里之外就能闻到不说,走近了还可以香得醉倒人。我们夏收帮老乡割麦子时,田边的和农家小院里的沙枣花常常把我们引诱得到处追寻花香,有时还会被熏得昏昏欲睡。五、六十年代时有一首流行的欢迎来塔里木垦荒青年的歌曲,就叫“送你一束沙枣花”。


瓜果

南疆的瓜果葡萄都很甜。吃过这里瓜果的人都会对其他地方的瓜果百般挑剔。除了小时候迫不及待地偷吃酸掉牙的青杏以外,杏、桃、李、梨,石榴、甜瓜、葡萄,全都甜得让人“一吃一个不攆传(言传)”。特别是品种多样的杏子和桃子,离开和田后就再也没有见到过光皮儿的红杏、白杏,也再没吃过熟透了的、轻轻一揭就可剥去皮的蜜桃。很好笑,我第一次去内地时吃到发酸的桃子,觉得非常稀奇:怎么桃子还有酸的?

甜瓜的种类也多得数不过名来。甜瓜就是通常说的“哈密瓜”。不过只有外地人才说哈密瓜,我们和田人都说甜瓜。不管是白色、黄色、青色、绿色的,还是脆瓤、棉瓤、肉瓤,全都能让你甜透心。



葡萄

浓密遮荫的葡萄架下,铺块儿地毯,喝着老奶奶端来的奶茶,吃着架上摘下来的甜蜜葡萄,看着小姑娘的舞蹈,这是南疆的农家小院里常见的最有味道、最温馨的一幕。

和田的葡萄有绿葡萄、紫葡萄、圆葡萄、长葡萄、马奶子、无核白。夏天单位里每隔一个星期就会分一次葡萄,一次就几大洗脸盆,吃得人饭都不想吃了。我就是在葡萄架下长大的。





馕是一种贴在馕坑壁上用炭火烤熟的面饼。由于烤得干硬,可以保存很长时间。老乡出门赶集、商人上路行旅,都要带一些馕。老乡一般是把馕包在一块儿长条的大布中,缠在腰间。到了巴扎上有时买碗酸奶,有时找碗冰水,把馕掰成小块泡在里面吃,或者就上两牙甜瓜吃。还有时候,馕要是太干太硬,干脆就把馕扔到水渠里,跟着流水走上十几步,再把馕捞出来,馕就泡酥、泡软了,照样好吃。这不是笑话。我不但见过,而且自己也这样吃过。

吃馕要吃刚出馕坑的馕,实在好吃。如果是油馕,那个香就更甭提了。苞谷馕就上核桃和葡萄干,是天下最香、最有营养的食物。我每次离开新疆,都要带一些馕;有一次还偷偷地打进托运的行李,带到了美国。
抓饭

抓饭,顾名思义,就是手抓着吃的饭。它是大米、羊肉、洋葱、胡萝卜搅和在一起烧成的饭,再撒点孜然(一种佐料),好吃极了。不过你别以为就是把这些东西按比例煮在一锅里就是了,没那么简单。我第一次、也是唯一的一次看见手抓着吃抓饭,是小时候爸爸带我去一家维族老乡的婚宴上。客人们被安排坐在院子的葡萄架下的地毯或毡子上,七八个人围一圈,盘腿坐下;中间摆一个直径能有一米的大号银盘或搪瓷盘,一个小伙子一手提着“乔衮”(一种源自波斯的长颈长嘴水壶),一手端一个洗手盆,肩上搭一块毛巾,挨个为客人们倒水洗手。这期间便已经有人把大盘大盘做好的抓饭倒在了中间的大盘子上,堆得象小山一样。大家围坐着开始抓饭吃。抓饭用四个指头,中间三个把饭拨到跟前、拨成团,再和大拇指一起把饭团夹起来送到嘴边,然后由大拇指把饭推送进口内。这个步骤说起来容易做起来难,我试了几次都没把饭吃到嘴里,最后还是主人给我们几个汉族客人拿来了调羹,才算吃上了饭。来美国后,每有客人来家,都要做抓饭,成了我家的保留节目。



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

桑株


去桑株的路上。

桑株巴扎上的羊肺子吃摊。


刨冰摊。




桑株书店。



桑株河。





桑株名字很好听,象是藏语。我怀疑它就是藏语,因为这里是从新疆通往藏西北的交通要道,自古以来就常有藏人和其他外族人来往。唐代时的吐蕃王朝还曾占据过整个塔里木盆地,甚至延伸到敦煌。桑株坐落在昆仑山脚下,是任何一个商旅、马队和骆驼队上山的必经之路和最后的给养地。翻过山既是西藏的阿里地区。大半个世纪前,这里是一个小乡镇,五十年代后成了皮山县桑 株公社所在地,八十年代又改成了桑株乡。

我是一九七六年的冬天在插队时从幸福公社去桑株公社修水库时,赶着老牛拉的破车,步行一整天到达桑株的。当时直奔水利工地,没想着去镇上看看。工地就在山脚下,一条宽大的水渠。我们的任务是清理河床,加固堤坝。在那里我们风餐露宿,晚上躺在沙窝子里,嘴里嚼着沙子,眼睛望着星空;胸中满怀共产主义理想,丝毫不觉苦不觉累。

那会儿我对当地的历史地理知识少得可怜,完全不知道桑株千百年来就是连贯中西的丝绸之路上的一个重镇。后来在北京读研究生时看过斯坦因写的《古和田》及《中亚探险记》,才知道他就是从山那边的印度、巴基斯坦、克什米尔、西藏阿里一路过来,通过桑株山口进入新疆的。后来又知道美国学者XXXX五十年代初时还最后一次翻越了桑株山口,留下珍贵照片。再后来我到了国外,一位美国朋友记着我曾给她讲过的故事,特意寄来两页从哪个科学杂志上剪贴下来的文章和照片:美国最新卫星拍摄的地图 - 皮山县和桑株乡的地貌图。我看了大吃一惊;其清晰度和准确度到了连县城里大街小巷几乎都能辨认出来的程度。我在皮山时,不要说县城的地图,就是全新疆地图都没见过,只有中国和世界地图。我当时第一个反应就是中国完了!美国有如此的高科技,而且对这样一个小小的、连绝大部分多数中国人都不知道的地方给予了注意,那还不是想炸哪就炸哪,你能往哪逃?全在人眼底下。

三十多年过去,当年的同学、下乡知青,现在的县长大人特意派人带我去了桑株。沿着桑株河,又来到水库大坝。当年的遗迹已很难寻找,倒是沿途的骆驼、镇子上的巴扎(集市)趣味盎然,多少还了一些我的心愿。有照片为证。





风筝

有一年春天,不知怎么一高兴,我们全家人一起动手做了一个巨大的风筝,比我还高。妈妈用一个旧门帘上的细竹签结结实实地扎出一个蝴蝶的骨架,然后糊上和田土造的桑皮纸。她边做边指挥我找出一团纳鞋底用的棉线来,然后两股合成一股,拧在一起。哥哥的任务是做两个能够转动而且还能出呼哨声的触角。最后是爸爸大笔一挥,红、黄、黑、几个醒目的颜色,画出了一只美丽的蝴蝶。全家人举着它,院里的孩子们跟在后面一长串儿,浩浩荡荡地来到郊外的小河坝。

小河坝是我们常去玩的地方。有水、茂盛的芦苇丛,还有一大片空旷的盐碱地。在缺水少绿的和田,这儿就可以算作公园了。那片盐碱地紧贴小河边。由于潮湿,没有虚浮的沙土,光洁干净,脚踩在上面轻快舒服。这天,高高的蓝天上没有一丝云彩。暖风轻轻地吹着。我们迫不及待地要把手中的蝴蝶放飞。妈妈不慌不忙地做着准备工作:把线绳的一头紧紧地系在蝴蝶的肚子上,另一头牢牢地缠在一个大线轴上,线轴中间插一根大约一尺长的木棍。妈妈说,风筝起飞时速度会很快,有个活动的线轴,线走得快、而且不会勒手。我奇怪她怎么会有这样的经验。先前她让我把两股纳鞋底的绳子合在一起,我就想象不出为何要这么粗的绳子。现在听她这么一说,想必是有道理的。

刚开始好象是哥哥拉着风筝跑,没有起来。爸爸又接着拉它跑,起来不久,却又头朝下栽下来。一琢磨,是头重脚轻。哥哥这会儿不知突然从哪里冒出来的灵感,建议往风筝下部加坠石头。几个男孩子一听,不待接到指令就箭也似地飞奔出去。一转眼回来时,每人手里都拿着小卵石和砖头块儿。试验了好几次,一直到加上了一块大半块平整的砖头,风筝才终于平衡起来。我惊讶它竟然能载起如此的重量。看着风筝稳稳当当地飞向天空,孩子们欢呼起来,认识的,不认识的。我们跟着风筝跑呀跳呀,开心极了。爸爸让每个孩子都试着拽一次绳子,别提有多激动了。我试的时候,爸爸把整个线轴交给我。我立刻就被拖着踉跄地跑起来,而且完全收不住脚,几乎就要飞起来。吓得我大声叫喊 - 完全被风的威力慑服了。

美丽的蝴蝶在蓝天中飞舞;悦耳的呼哨声在空气间回荡。来来回回过路赶巴扎的老乡都停下来观望欣赏。很多人问风筝是哪里买的。还有两个人非缠着爸爸要买我们的。爸爸妈妈说,这是我们全家合作的艺术品。不卖!

风筝,带给童年欢乐。和田,拳拳难忘。

涝坝

小时候,我们最爱去玩儿的地方是涝坝圈。涝坝是和田人千百年来使用的一种蓄水池。每年春季,昆仑山上冰雪融化,水渠把雪水引向各处浇灌田地,也引进各村落的涝坝。据说1990年代国务院付总理李瑞环去和田视察时,看见老乡们仍然在喝涝坝里的水,大动恻隐之心,带头个人捐款,为和田人民挖井取水,彻底取代涝坝。

其实,涝坝水的不卫生和不方便只是相对我们现代化的生活标准来衡量的。我们小时候喝了好多年的涝坝水,也都健康地长大了。而我说的这个涝坝,不仅养育了单位大院两代人,还滋润了孩子们的心灵。在到处是黄沙的和田,有一汪清水再加上一圈杨柳果树和鲜花绿草,便是我们的伊甸园。

院里人习惯把涝坝周围一圈的大树和花圃叫作涝坝圈。六十年代时有个带历史反革命帽子的劳教人员被分配做种菜种花的活儿。他在涝坝圈种了很多种花草。现在能记得名字的只有金针花、牵牛花、鸡冠花、大丽花、蔷薇、罂粟、猪耳朵草、扫帚草;还有几种叫不上名的菊花。他还在花盆里种了含羞草,搁在自己的宿舍窗外。我们特别喜欢去逗那些娇气敏感的小草。走过去,摸一下,小草叶立刻合起来;走过来,看看它们是否张开了。如果张开了就再摸一下。摸的次数多了,它们就再也不张开了。

涝坝圈好像有两棵大梨树,还有果子树、桑树、酸梅树,外加一、两棵老柳树。有一棵梨树分杈分得很平稳结实,喜欢爬树的男孩子们总会在那里歇歇脚,或干脆坐在上面不下来。记得哥哥经常会带上一本书爬上树去,然后坐在那个天然的躺椅上惬意地读着《宝葫芦的秘密》、《森林报》之类的书。而我总是羡慕有余,就是不敢爬。偶尔一、两次在哥哥的帮助下爬上去,坐在树杈上,就有一种战胜自我的喜悦和陶醉。大多数时候都是调皮的男孩子们爬在上面玩儿打仗或“偷” 梨子吃。幸亏这棵树上的梨子是肉质粗糙干硬的木头梨,没人爱吃。否则整棵树都会遭殃。

后来单位打了井装上了自来水管,但涝坝还依然保留了很多年。当年住在大院里的孩子们现在还仍然对这个涝坝念念不忘。只可惜改革开放时它被填平了。因此也少了一个故地重游的牵念。

Thursday, May 7, 2009

牛津随笔(五)

























图一:圣玛丽大学教堂 University Church
图二:基督教会学院 Christ Church College
图三:雪莱的大学学院 University College
图四:圣玛丽大学教堂 University Church
图五:基督教会学院教堂 Christ Church College Church

牛津的哥特式建筑成就了牛津的独特文化风景;而牛津的哥特情结又因一位艺术史论家的出现而达到顶峰。

在牛津,谈哥特,言必称此人。在艺术史论界,提哥特,还是言必称此人。

他的名字叫约翰-罗斯金(John Ruskin)。

罗斯金 - 牛津基督教会学院毕业。
罗斯金 - 牛津及英国第一位专职艺术史论教授。
罗斯金 - “一石激起千层浪” ,用一部“石头”论著掀起半个地球的哥特热。
罗斯金 - 单枪匹马扭转乾坤,让全世界重新审视哥特建筑、重新评价中世纪艺术。

今天,人们已经把“哥特式”一词当作中性词来使用了,特指欧洲十二至十四世纪的建筑形式及相关装饰艺术。但是很多人都不知道,“哥特”的名称原先是个贬义词,产生于一个历史的误会。

所谓的“哥特”建筑,本来是中世纪建筑师为了增加教堂内部空间高度和大面积使用玻璃窗而发明建造的尖拱结构建筑。这种结构及其相关的外墙支柱和远距离支架(飞拱)等技术,不仅解决了支撑屋顶重量、保证玻璃墙壁的问题,而且增加了教堂内部的神秘气氛和崇高感,有效地表达了基督教思想。这不仅在建筑技术史上是一个进步,在建筑的美学功能方面也是一个重要发展。

然而,在欧洲文艺复兴的浪潮中,意大利人文主义学者却因热爱和推崇古希腊古罗马艺术而贬低中世纪艺术,使用了“哥特的”(Gothic)一词来表示蔑视。追根寻源,“罪魁祸首”居然是瓦萨里,西方美术史第一人。他误认为中世纪的建筑是由野蛮民族“哥特人”(Goths) 建造的,是一种缺乏理性及高贵品质的野蛮粗糙的大杂烩,不足为取。在他们看来,这些建筑不讲究比例规则和对称原则,过于堆积装饰雕刻,人物雕刻和绘画也粗糙、不准确、不优美。事实上,中世纪的建筑师们并不是原始的哥特人,也从没有给自己的艺术形式起过名称。他们表达的艺术自有其存在价值。不幸的是,对哥特艺术的误解和偏见却延续了以后好几个世纪。

在英国,哥特式建筑自然也经受了一段时期的冷落。雷恩(Wren)的伦敦圣保罗大教堂以及他一个人就设计建造了几十座文艺复兴式建筑的事实,很能说明问题。但有意思的是,英国人很快发现,哥特式艺术似乎更符合他们的文化习性和情感,他们也更钟情于哥特艺术。十八世纪开始,英国陆续出现哥特复兴运动。

但是,真正在全欧洲范围内为“哥特”正名、发现哥特艺术价值、扭转人们偏见、拯救哥特建筑遗迹的关键人物,到十九世纪中叶才出现。这人就是罗斯金。

罗斯金读书时,并不是一个好学生。常常不是写激进古怪的东西,就是干脆不来上课。在一次获得诗歌大奖之后,学校开始对他刮目相看,甚至后来在他因病长期缺课的情况下仍然授予他荣誉学位。他的才气和才能展现在很多方面。吟诗作画写小说搞艺术评论以至社会评论,随便做什么,都是手到擒来。三十岁之前,他已经发表了专著《建筑的七盏明灯》,出版了两卷(多卷本之一、二)颇有个人见地和影响的著作《现代画家》,并因此大名远扬。作教授时,牛津学生没有不知道这位“奇才”艺术史论教授的。他的演讲课场场爆满,而且几乎每课都得给慕名而来的公众重复再讲。

三十三岁那年,罗斯金完成了具有丰碑性质的著作:《威尼斯之石》(The Stones of Venice)。在这部著作里,罗金斯以自己对威尼斯城建筑的实地考察,分析研究了威尼斯圣马克大教堂及其广场周围的建筑群,对诸多建筑物做了历史分期、特征描述和概括,并做了伦理和美学等方面的评价,详实而雄辩地论证和肯定了哥特时期艺术高超和伟大的地方。这部著作影响巨大,它改变了整个欧洲、整个西方艺术史对哥特艺术及中世纪艺术的态度和认识,掀起了全英国及涵盖半个地球的英联邦、英属殖民地的哥特建筑热潮,也成为(直至今日)分析评价中世纪艺术必不可少的理论标准。

他发现并关注的、也是极为推崇的,不是纯形式和技术的东西,而是建筑的道德意义。哥特式建筑,他认为,虽然有些蛮横粗糙、变化无常、怪诞荒谬、呆板、不规则,炫耀似地堆积装饰,等等,但正是这种带有原始意味的自创性和随意性以及自由想象,给建筑铸入了强大的表现力和生命力。他还认为,哥特时期的工匠是带着发自内心的喜爱和自由意志、自觉自愿地去修筑教堂的,工作是出于热爱,是一种情感和精神的抒发和寄托;所以,这种工作是道德的,同时也是有创造力的;创造出的艺术也是高尚的。

虽然带有明显的理想主义色彩,罗斯金却是第一个强调人的道德情感因素在建筑中的价值,第一个把野蛮原始、自由想象、不受形式规则束缚等建筑特点,同崇高、表现力这类美学品质联系在一起,也是第一个强调建筑的“精神表达”和“物质形式”二者缺一不可的艺术理论家。

对他来说,这些正是“哥特的本质”,是哥特艺术伟大之处。

对哥特艺术的肯定和赞扬在当时无疑是近于反叛性质的行为。自文艺复兴以来,特别是在温克尔曼这样的艺术思想家充分肯定赞扬古典艺术和文艺复兴艺术之后,在人们已经普遍接受了古典艺术的“高贵的单纯”和“静穆的伟大”的审美观之后,罗斯金敢冒天下之大不韪,反其道而行之,在为哥特艺术平反的同时公开批评希腊罗马以来的古典式建筑;这不只需要魄力和自信,还需要对两种艺术风格全面透彻的认识和理解,更需要独立的思想。

他对古典式建筑的批评,特别是对文艺复兴时期的建筑的批评,尖锐深刻。他指出,古典式建筑的最大弱点是重知识轻表现,重科学轻情感,重实际经验轻心理感受;它用工程师的循规蹈矩和机械冷漠取代艺术家的自由想象和轻松愉快;因而,它削弱生命感、道德感、荣誉感、精神力量。相比之下,哥特建筑更富有精神的和情感的力量,更能震撼人的心灵。

不能有比他的这个观察和分析更精辟更经典的了。

罗斯金的艺术批评来自他非凡的艺术家的敏感和激情。他平生发表的第一篇论文,仅是题目,就已经令人耳目一新:“建筑的诗”。把坚硬冰冷的石头建筑当作柔美抒情的诗来读,而且还读出个理论道道来,恐怕只有他这样的天才,即有艺术家的直觉又有理论家的头脑,才能做得到。

研究建筑的文章最容易流于枯燥无味。建筑本身就很抽象单一,没有叙述性故事,也没有五彩缤纷的色彩。然而,在大厚本的《威尼斯之石》中,罗斯金用散文般的优美文字,大师级的水彩插图和铅笔速写,传教士式的热情,感染和征服了读者。书中,从平面到立体,从总体到细节,从整座建筑到其柱头、门楣、窗边装饰;几十座巨型教堂宫殿建筑,成百上千件建筑装饰部件,无数的人物雕像画像;全经他亲自丈量、计算、描绘、描述、分析、概括、追踪历史、解说、评价。如此浩大而繁琐的工程,他自始至终地保持高昂的激情,把一节节石柱写出诗意来,把一个个窗户阳台画出感情来,把琐琐碎碎不起眼的石雕小装饰一次又一次地写出高潮来。他写这部书犹如他在书中称赞的哥特工匠,发自内心地,满腔热情地,把全部的头脑和心灵、思想和感情,都倾注了进去。

他在给父亲的一封信中写到:“我有一种无法分析的强烈的本能,迫使我去描绘或叙述我所热爱的东西 -- 不是为了出名,不是为了讨好别人,也不是为了自己的利益,就象需要吃喝的本能一样。我要把整个的圣马可大教堂、整个的维隆纳,一块石头一块石头地画下来,一笔一笔地全都吃到我的心里去。”(注:参考迟柯的翻译)

近乎疯痴。

也难怪,他是把艺术当作宗教顶礼膜拜的。

翻开《威尼斯之石》看看,的的确确,其中的图解远远地超过了任何一个工程师所能画出的建筑绘图。对罗斯金来说,他面对的不是工程技术,不是冷漠无情的石头,而是艺术,是有血有肉的人创造的艺术,是有生命的艺术。对比他的速写和照片,同一座建筑,同一个角度,我终究想不明白他使用了什么魔法,为什么他的画看起来就是比照片更活、更有生气、更令人向往。

罗斯金还亲自为牛津新建的自然博物馆做了总体设计,并亲自挑选石匠和建筑工人,试图以中世纪的宗教热情、自由无羁的手工操作重现哥特艺术的光彩。

罗斯金毫无疑问是十九世纪艺术史、艺术批评史上最有影响力的人物。在牛津,莫里斯、伯恩-琼斯、雪莱等人,都是罗斯金忠实的崇拜者和追随者。莫里斯在进入牛津之前就已经熟读过罗斯金的《威尼斯之石》,对这位天才教授论述的哥特建筑理论崇拜得五体投地。他后来在自己一手创办的《牛津剑桥杂志》中,特邀罗斯金为杂志撰写评论;还专门把《威尼斯之石》中的精华《哥特的本质》一章抽出来,为其设计书面,出版了单行本。

这里,艺术的吸引力似乎超过了宗教的感召力。罗斯金在后半生放弃了宗教信仰。莫里斯和伯恩-琼斯从神学转向艺术并终身不渝。雪莱公开质疑宗教。王尔德干脆提出“为艺术而艺术”的唯美主义和艺术至上主义,彻底把宗教、政治抛在一边。

他们是把艺术当作了宗教。艺术成为他们人生追求的终极目的。

2008-2009

牛津随笔(四)















图一:俯瞰牛津 (View of Oxford)
图二:基督教会学院的钟楼和四方院 (Christ Church College: Bell Tower "Big Tom" and Quardrangle


牛津是一座哥特式大学城。说它是哥特式,不仅因为它始建于哥特时期的十三世纪,而且因为它在其后的八、九个世纪中始终以哥特式的尖拱、尖顶、尖塔为主要式样建筑它的各所学院。尽管也经历了文艺复兴、巴洛克、新古典主义等时期,牛津人却始终锺情中古情调浓厚的哥特式建筑。

站在高处放眼望去,牛津城高塔林立、院池济济。有几处尤为醒目:基督教会学院的圆顶钟楼和尖塔教堂,圣玛德琳学院的四方塔楼的尖椎塔,瑞德克里夫阅览室的穹窿顶,圣玛丽大学教堂的锥形大尖塔,万灵学院和新学院大小尖塔及锯齿状锥形装饰物 ......

每幢楼展示着每幢楼的独特风格;每座塔炫耀着每座塔的美学品味;每池院落变换着每池院落的时尚布局;每座塔、楼、院落又都讲述着各自的新老故事。

在诸多学院中,基督教会学院 (Christ Church College) 是故事最多的一处,非去不可。讲历史,它是牛津最大最权威的学院,由英王亨利八世亲自命名和资助建立,同时也是牛津官方教会所在地;它也是牛津出产英国首相最多的一所学院 - 十三位。论建筑,它既有典型的哥特式尖塔,又有哥特晚期的贝壳型拱顶结构,还有改良式哥特圆筒圆顶大钟楼,更有后来伯恩-琼斯加画的大型彩色玻璃窗。谈文学,这里是《爱丽丝梦境历险记》的发源地;作者路易斯-卡罗(Lewis Carroll)在这里获得灵感,故事也在这里写成;大草场,小河边,餐厅,门把、捅火棍,都是爱丽丝历险的景物来源。电影《哈利伯特》的很多镜头也都是在这里拍摄的;球赛的草坪,校园的四合院,尤其那个超级神奇的大餐厅,一眼望不到头;... 。嫌不够的话,再加上学院的艺术画廊;虽然在地下室,这里却收藏有达芬奇、米凯朗基罗、拉菲尔、鲁本斯、凡爱克、哈尔斯等大师的素描手稿,菲力普-利裴、维荣尼兹、卡拉奇的绘画名作;等等,等等,数不胜数。毋庸置疑,仅第一第二个故事就可以讲它个几天几夜。

不过我是先冲着爱丽丝和哈利波特去的。

临行前和女儿商量好,凡是爱丽丝和哈利去过的地方,我都要走一遍,带回照片来,作为不能带她同去的条件。其实我比女儿更是两位小主人公的FAN。想当初在大学学英语时第一次读到缩写的爱丽丝游记,就已经被故事简单自然、顺理成章地从现实过渡到梦幻的开头吸引住了,还直感慨自己小时候没有机会读到这样美妙的童话。后来有了女儿,还不懂事,就开始给她讲爱丽丝的故事。待到哈利波特的书出来,有朋友抢先送来了前两部。念给女儿听,她紧张害怕,蒙头睡去,我却一口气看了个通宵。后来自然是出一部读一部,全是一气读完。这次有机会,当然不能不亲身体验一下。一圈走下来,感受颇多:小说故事情节的编造无疑出自作家们的想象力和才气,但场景氛围的营造和渲染却是来自作者耳濡目染的感性认识。这些故事只能出现在牛津,只能出现在英国。没有这些场景,没有感性,也就没有了故事。

这样一个好去处,却是英王亨利八世夺别人所好,攫为己有的结果。这位以娶过六个王后、并下令砍过其中两个王后的头而臭名昭著的国王,为了达到和第一任王后离婚的目地而和罗马教皇分庭抗礼,建立了独立的英国教会。也是为了达到离婚的目的,这位国王免去了他身边最为得宠的、一人之下万人之上的大法官、上议院议长、坎特伯利教会大主教乌尔塞(Thomas Wolsey)的职务,同时没收他资助建立的“大主教学院”;全部原因就是这位大法官对国王这桩离婚案犹豫不决。可怜的大法官大主教,不久又被亨利下令逮捕,死于赴刑的路途中。亨利八世把学院改名为“亨利八世学院”,后来又改为“基督教会学院”。在这里,亨利的是非功过自然也处处可见。

在牛津,美和丑、善和恶、真理和谬误,常常同时反映在同一座建筑物上、发生在同一个院落里,让人惊讶两者是如何相辅相成的。

圣玛丽大学教堂是牛津最古老的大学教堂,甚至在大学建立之前就已经先有了它,也是牛津最大的教堂。它有一座巨大的装饰精美的哥特式锥形尖塔;另一头又有一个带螺旋柱子的巴洛克式圆拱大门;两部分都很有特点,也都很引人注目。这座教堂历经近千年的风风雨雨,不断扩建重修,样式也不断变化更新,自然也见证了无数次的改朝换代。

在这座教堂里,发生了一件英国历史上著名的事件,人称“牛津三烈士”事件:三位带头实行英国宗教改革的主教、大主教,被反宗教改革的女王玛丽一世,绰号“血腥玛丽”的女王,在这里残酷地判处火刑。其中的一位,英国最大教会坎特伯利大教堂的克莱姆大主教(Thomas Cranmer),曾经竭尽全力协助先王亨利八世脱离罗马教会,建立独立的英国国家教会,修改制定新的教会法和教义教规;当然,也正是他帮助亨利成功地休弃了第一任王后 - 玛丽的母亲。宗教原因也罢,政治原因也罢,个人私仇也罢,玛丽登基当了女王后,对克莱姆大主教毫不心慈手软。尽管写了几次悔过书,拖延了一、两年时间,克莱姆仍然被判死刑。赴刑场之前,他在圣玛丽大学教堂里作最后一次悔过演讲,临近结束,他话锋突转,大声说,他写过的所有悔过书都将不算数,受火刑时,他将先伸出右手,让它首先遭受惩罚,因为它曾经因软弱而签写了悔过书。目睹者声称:在熊熊烈火包围他时,他果真把右手首先伸向烈火,高喊:“主耶稣,接受我的灵魂吧!...... 我看见天堂的门开了,耶稣正站在上帝的右手边。”

后来,牛津人在三位烈士就义的地方竖起了一座哥特式尖塔纪念碑。高耸入云的尖塔象火焰冲天,又象牺牲者的手指,直指天堂。

英国十六、十七世纪时的宗教改革即血腥又具讽刺性。克莱姆死了仅两年,玛丽女王驾崩,伊丽莎白女王即位,天又翻了回来。英国教会最终独立,克莱姆生前制定的教会法成为经典。牛津的圣玛丽大学教堂又参与和经历了新的历史变迁。

大学教堂的那座南门比较独特,圆拱形大门两边有两根象拧麻花似旋转的柱子,圆拱门上面又有断裂的圆拱装饰、旋涡形装饰、贝壳状神龛、人物雕像,典型的巴洛克风格。我在街上经过它时,无论如何都没有把它跟教堂东头的大尖塔联系在一起。它在牛津非常特殊,不仅与教堂的哥特式主体尤其是大尖塔在风格上格格不入,而且和整个牛津、甚至全英国的建筑风格背道而驰。

由于英国新教改革和罗马教会反宗教改革的对立,英国建筑一直没有表现出对意大利巴洛克风格的热情。对英国清教徒来说,巴洛克建筑简直就是代表了罗马天主教反对新教改革的狂热。为了圣玛丽大学教堂这副巴洛克式门面,有人还付出了代价。曾任牛津几个学院的院长、大学总监,后任英国教会大主教的罗德(Laud),因为比较保守,不赞成新教的激进,被国会判处死刑送上断头台;他的罪状中有一条就是他的助手资助修建了这个巴洛克新门面,而他本人也曾向它屈躬祈祷。

宗教派别和政治斗争的残酷无情,荒唐不可理喻,自然导致了理性的觉醒。

大学学院(University College) 是牛津第一所学院,建于1249年。它的校园建筑几经重建扩建,没有保留最初的建筑物,也没有其它突出的特点。我是偶然两次从它门口经过才注意到它。从建院开始到其后几个世纪,大学学院基本是一所神学院,以研究神学和培养神职人员为主。就是这样一所以神学为牛津这个世界一流大学奠定基础的学院,十九世纪时竟在学生中出现了公开反对宗教神学的小册子,不仅在学生中流传,而且还一个不落地被送至各校长、院长及系主任办公室。小册子旗帜鲜明地打出标题:《论无神论的必要性》。写这篇论文的作者毫不隐瞒自己的姓名,他就是后来人们熟知的浪漫主义诗人雪莱。他的满怀激情和理想的长诗《西风颂》,特别是其中那句充满希望、鼓舞人心的诗句“假如冬天来了,春天还会远吗?”永远地留在了世界文学史和人们的记忆中。当时因书写印发这篇文章而被学院开除的雪莱,后来却成了最最有名的校友。学院为他建了纪念碑。

有雪莱宗教自由的呼吁,王尔德的人性解放也就不足为奇了。奥斯卡-王尔德读书的学院是那个有着四方高塔的圣玛德琳 (St.Magdalen) 学院。这座看上去壁垒森严的碉堡式的塔楼,很难让人把它同一位追求人性自由和唯美主义的剧作家联系到一起。兴许是物极必反的原理吧,王尔德不顾重重藩篱层层羁绊,我行我素;不只是对宗教道德观念置之不理,就是被法庭制罪啷当入狱也在所不顾。他在争取同性恋的自由及合法性的思想行为方面,可以说超前了整整一个世纪,尽管付出了几乎是生命的代价。我们现在记住他的当然更多地是他提出的那个著名的 “为艺术而艺术” 的文艺理论 -- 一个自由意志的产物。

在这同一所古堡式学院里,C.S. 路易斯写下了七卷本的《纳尼亚传奇》。那个神秘的大衣柜给小主人公们开启了一个通往神奇世界的大门。在牛津生活大半辈子的作者本人,也像是从想象到现实都生活在浪漫传奇的中世纪里,顽固地争论英国只有中世纪和中世纪晚期,而未有过文艺复兴阶段。