Heavenly Ford: City of Beauty

Tianjin, like most Chinese cities, is composed of two characters. Jin is “ford,” and Tian is “Heaven” or “Sky” (as in The Heavenly Temple / Tiantan, The Heavenly Peace Gate / Tiananmen, etc). I previously wrote about the un-modern characteristic of using the same word for “Heaven” and “Sky”, but here the problem is more prosaic: does Tianjin mean “Heavenly Ford” or “Sky Ford”?

Because (to my ears) “heavenly” seems more sublime than “sky,” for this post on the beauty of Tianjin I’ll describe the art in the Heavenly Ford.


Of course, much wasn’t photographed, or the pictures just didn’t come out. There are two super-towers in the city (at least — the haze makes it difficult to see too far), and Tianjin University (formerly Beiyang, or “Northern Peace” University) at night is intoxicating. Likewise, the grandeur of the Sino-Romantic painting on the ceiling of Tianjin Railroad Station (which connects directly to Beijing Railroad Station) must be seen in person to be truly loved.

Yet these images are the best I could do for my blog. While much more polluted than Beijing, Tianjin could easily be more beautiful. It is a city of parks, and rivers, and eye-pleasing artwork. I would give my props to the City Fathers of Tianjin, but like Beijing Tianjin is controlled directly by the central government. So my props to whatever bureaucrats are running the place, whoever they may be.

Outside the Railway Station, the first clue that art is big in the City of the Heavenly Ford

Statues that initially looked Greek greeted commuters on a major roadway

Across one of the many lakes of Tianjin University. Tianjin’s campus compares favorably to Peking U‘s

The Ocean is indescribably polluted, as was hinted at the Soviet ACC Kiev, but the donkey was neat!

Gigantic drummers greet conventioners and soccer fans. The Convention Center visible in the background certainly is newer than Beijing‘s.

More of the holy woman

Naked children may be a fetish for Chinese artists, but certainly not for parents. I’ve never seen a Chinese child that was not fully clothed.

In a place that reminded me of Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, sculptures are child-size too. (Tianjin’s art is far better than Chicago’s, but the influence is obvious.)

Beyond the strawberry, the waterfall.

Tianjin, a tdaxp series.

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