Symbolic Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings

By: Tori Duarte 

Los Angeles County Museum Of Arts

5905 Whilshire Blvd Los Angeles CA90063


On Friday November 18, 2016 I was able to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts and visited the Chinese Art display. What caught my eye the most was how beautiful the flower and bird Paintings were. I’ve always seen these paintings, but I never knew there was meaning behind them.

There are lots of symbolic means behind the Chinese Flower and bird Paintings. I chose one  from the Tsao Family collection by Cai Han. This scroll was painted by Cai herself and shows bamboo and bean flowers. Each bean flower represents offspring. 

There’s was one painting that I really was looking for but I couldn’t seem to find it. It was the painting named “The Three Friends of Winter”. 

The Three Friends of Winter symbolize the pine, bamboo and plum blossom. The Chinese observed that either one of these plants  Never dried up or shriveled as they got deeper into their winter seasons. 

Some examples of flowers and their symbolism are the peony which represent high position and great wealth, bamboo symbolizes modesty and success, and pine is a symbol for longevity and integrity. These flowers are each a unique importance to the Chinese Culture. 

Some examples of birds and their symbolisms are the peacock which represents dignity and beauty, the phenolic which is mostly used as a female symbol means Empress. The bat is used as good luck and in the chinese language is sounds similar to how they say “Good Fortune”. Bats are often shown together to represent the five blessings; a long life, riches, health, love of virtue and a natural death. 

In the Chinese culture if you share a space with any type of bird and flower painting, your giving the message of the painting in the most elegant way. 


Life in New Orleans

By: JoseArturo Trejo

New Orleans, Louisiana

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On the 29th of March of this year, I had taken a nine day trip along with my brother to experience the life and culture in the New Orleans, Louisiana.

One deeply concerning matter that definitely received attention from not only the people of New Orleans, but also the tourist is the vast amount of poverty in all areas of the city that span from The French Quarter all through Northside which also cover the Downtown area. Seemingly, to all the natives of New Orleans, it appeared that the current level of poverty should not be attributed to Hurricane Katrina because according to them, the current level of poverty is very similar to that of pre-Katrina.

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The two above photos where taken in the the Northside of the city where it was apparent that it was where the city-based locals resided. In this side of the city one could locate the very popular National World War II Museum. Further north, Tulane University and Loyola University seem to only be divided by a street to bring attention to their proximity. Since I was unable to find a photo of myself, I am using a picture that has my brother in it.

In this side of town, proximate to the university was where a lot of construction and remodeling had been taking place. One could make the assumption that it was a result from Katrina, but that didn’t seem to resonate amongst the residents which had said it is just maintenance on infrastructure, pipelines and streets.

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These two photos above depict mansions located also in the Northside but not as far north as the universities in an area known as the Garden District. This area is considered to be of the more affluent areas of New Orleans. There is an obvious heavy french influence in the architecture in this side just as there is in The French Quarter. One particularly odd feature that we found to be an interesting characteristic of most of the homes in the Garden District is that many are substantially non-level and have non parallel walls.

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Here is a picture taken in the middle of the Bourbon Street, the most attractive street in the quarter and substantially more occupied when compared to Frenchman Street. Here in these two streets was where it became evident that the city had a problem with narcotics. Those involved with drug trade were extremely aggressive with their strategies to make a sale. Poverty was prevalent in the area. Perhaps, it may be the location where the issue of poverty are exemplified the most in the city.

Bourbon street is without a doubt, the place where New Orleans becomes ablaze with culture and tradition. The lights, people,music and foods epitomize all that we have come to understand and recognize relating to life in New Orleans.

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The photo here is of one of the hotels located just on the edge of where The French Quarter ends and downtown begins. A street was what divided downtown from The French Quarter and this seemed to be the recurring theme in the city, a single street would divide areas, unlike Southern California where valleys of homes divided most areas. New Orleans Picture.jpg

This photo is a picture of my brother, Isaac, up at three in the morning since our check-in was not until 6 am. The hotel in which we stayed was the Maison Dupuy conveniently located in the streets of the quarter since it is where tourist like spending most of their time.


Here, in the photo above, is an image of myself waiting to cross the street that divides the two universities Loyola University and Tulane University, located in the Northside. I was able to have this location because the filter used via Snapchat illustrates my location.

Life in New Orleans seems to be a constant struggle for those native to it. This has seemingly lead to the embracing of culture by the community to rely on cultural phenomenon such as music just as the genre of music known as jazz that had been born in New Orleans and provided it with legends of that form of art such as Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino. Through culture, New Orleans exerts in many why and how it has become it’s own city and why it is one of Americas  many great places to visit.

Egyptian Religious Rituals 

By: Steven Jimenez 
Los Angeles County Museum Of Arts
5905 Whilshire Blvd Los Angeles CA90063

On Friday 11-18-16 I attended the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts in Los Angeles in their Egyptian cultural area. There I learned about a few of their religious rituals that was often performed on a daily bases. Although many other cultures have their own religious rituals, Egyptians had a very unique way that showed how they stood out from the rest. 

Here in this stone tablet shows four priest offering their gods liquid and incense. The liquid represents the nourishment so that the gods will not be parched. They do this in order to please them and also in order for them to refill the Nile River with water in order for their crops to grow. The incense represents the leaving of bad sins that may have been committed. The Egyptians wanted the gods to forgive them for any wrong they may have done so that they will not be punished. Also, like in the Catholic Church, they used the burners to get rid of sins in order to purify people.

This stone tablet is showing a pharaoh and his wife receiving offerings from the priest as well. In the Egyptian culture, pharaohs were worshiped as gods. Here they are receiving food from their priest to show them that they honor them. Pharaohs recieve many gifts from their people they rule over in order to show their respect and honor. It was a norm for people to do this with every ruler. In the top right corner there is a priest shown as a small person pouring liquid into the Pharaohs mouth. The priest is there to serve as a servant to his pharaoh and to please him with anything he needs. The reason the priest is small is because in Egyptian culture only high class rulers and gods were shown as giants ruling over all they conquered. Middle  and lower class people were always shown smaller and at times animals were shown next to the rulers over the middle and lower class. Every detail in the stone tablets has a meaning and purpose for being there. 

Egyptian rituals were very unique and different from others around the world. Their art work that has been discovered shows how intelligent and how religious they were with their offerings, mummification, and pyramids they built. 


By Sandy  P.R Management Specialist

 Temple Beth ohr  Jewish Reform Synagogue 

15721 Rosecrans ave, La Mirada, Ca. 90638


       I attended a Jewish synagogue Friday, November 11, (6:00pm I arrived, like a hour and a half early ) for there weekly Shabbat service that started at 7:30 pm.  I met with Rabbi Mark Goldfarb he invited me to join him & his people to join them for there service and a gathering at the end for some wine,bread ,cake,appetizers and fellowship.

     I was given a tag with my name on it, It was yellow to show the other members I was new I was a guest,  I was welcomed by everyone I walked by or walked by me. The temple was very simple very lightly decorated with a star of David painted on the outside corner wall (star of David Jewish symbol) no big signs with the name of the temple on the outside. The temple looked like a very humble temple the people were very welcoming and humble. The people and the rabbi showed me around the temple before and after the service.                     I saw these prayer shalls that the orthodox Jewish temples people wear,  In the reform synagogue which is  where I attended it’s mostly worn when reading from the Tora (tora jewish bible) the shalls had beautiful embroidery with prayers  along the sides men and women can wear These shalls,  The reason I mention men and women can wear it, is that in a orthodox temple things are more strictly done as in some temples women and men sit apart they still follow the rules from a thousand years ago. In this reform temple the rabbi is more relaxed and so are the people, I didn’t know what to expect worried if I would make some mistakes or insult there culture, but it was a very relaxed environment.

        Shabbat to the Jewish people is there day of rest and family time, they attend there service on Friday and Shabbat starts Saturday, on that day they don’t work, they rest and enjoy a family dinner, which is called the Shabbat dinner.    I spoke to the rabbit and ask “why do you have the service on Friday, when Shabbat starts Saturday ” he explained that long ago the rabbis had a hard time to be able to follow there rules in the case that  it means no work and rest, and since a rabbis job is the service for Shabbat, and to not work on Saturday they moved there service to Friday night to be able to keep with Shabbat customs. (I asked the rabbi if I could take photos during the services he said it would be distracting, so I didn’t take photos of the services but in there Facebook page there’s photos of the nights events.)

    On this day the rabbit mark told me it was a extra special service they would be having a baby naming ceremony for a baby named Gabriella Rose Kaplan, (daughter of Heather and David).  They  would be giving her, her Jewish name, given to her by her family, her Jewish name is now Rivkah Shoshanah bat. (David u’Ma’ayan Shoshanah) it was a very beautiful service, the baby was very well behaved, it was a very beautiful family.

    Also on this day they were having a service of remembrance for family and friends  who had died over the year, the Rabbi showed me in the temple they had a remembrance wall with plaques with names of loved ones who had died, with little round lights next to each name. some where  lit up, The rabbi said “the plaques with the lit up lights where the people that they are remembering in there service that night”.   the people working in the temple handed me a flyer with all the names of the family they were honoring that night. In addition they had another remembrance wall outside there temple with bricks with names on it.

    In addition they where honoring the United States veterans on Veterans Day. It was very beautiful They had a lot of veterans as members of there temple. it was very interesting seeing all the different veterans, the staff at the temple took lots of photos and posted them on there Facebook page (Temple Beth ohr Facebook ) My friend and I apper in the photos on there Facebook page. I took with me a friend to the temple to keep me company that happen to be a Veteran and it was sweet to see them honor him as well.

    The Rabbi Mark Goldfarb has a daughter name Ariel Goldfarb, (Cantorial Soloist) join him during the service they called her the cantor.  she was singing in Hebrew and English it was very beautiful from what I learn a cantor can do everything a rabbi dose except marry people.  I spoke to her and she says a cantor and rabbi differences is a rabbi goes to school and the cantor is studying.

    I was given so many flyers and papers to learn about there services and temple in addition they have a school to learn about Judaism. They gave us a Yamaka  (Yamaka Jewish male skull cap ) for my male friend to wear in the temple and I was given a Jewish calendar as well. They had a souvenir shop as well it was very interesting the items they were selling.

    At the end of the services we were ask to join them for refreshments and the fellowship they were passing out Jewish wine,  one wines was  very strong another wine which was the sweet wine they called juice all I heard was juice and was looking for the juice as we were toasting I took a sip and it wasn’t juice I learn the hard way, but it was very interesting they had cake to celebrate the baby and a man on his wedding anniversary the fellowship was very interesting very nice people very open I had lots of nice people come up to me and talk to me and very welcoming and kept inviting me to more services we stay and spoke to people until almost 10 pm.

The sign on the corner of the court yard facing the street 

The front side of the temple very simple humble sign name of the temple 

One of the corner sides of the temple a very humble Star of David painted on the temple outside 

Around the corner on another wall near the entrance outside they had this wall of bricks of remembrance 

And this is me at the wall doing a selfie as I explored the outside of the temple before heading inside for the services  (unlucky for me apple hasn’t made a front facing flash for the camera)

As I enter I am greeted by the souvenir shop and a women running the temple Susan (not pictured) 

Tribute wall with various plagues honoring members of the congregation the Hebrew letters form the Hebrew word shaddai, one of the biblical names for GOD  The letter style and shape are repeated on the ark doors in the sanctuary

I saw this beautiful painting of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve 

The Ten Commandments on old fabric frame up near the entrance of the sanctuary

Men should wear a yamaka before entering the sanctuary the skull cap has evolved over the years it is wore for respect of GOD wore in temple some Jewish males wear it all the time. they leave a basket on the outside for those that don’t have there own they can barrow one 

In Hebrew on the sides is written prayers on the shalls men and women can wear These I only witness the rabbi and his daughter wear them and one other member of the temple wearing it you don’t have to wear it unless your reading from the tora (Jewish bible)

The basket of Yamakas and prayer shalls at the entrance of the sanctuary

Jewish prayer book & song book do not confuse this for the Jewish bible it was under the seat in front of you in the sanctuary Hebrew books are read from right to left so it was a little odd reading and opening the book

One page in the Jewish prayer book I enjoy 

Sanctuary and seats with prayer books under each one

The sanctuary from another angle there is also three broads on the wall with plaques with red lights on it that’s the remembrance wall of the dead the lights next to each name that are lit up are the people being remembered 

A close up look at the remembrance wall with the plaques and the lighted up names 

A member of the temple made this art work up this was given to the temple to remember people from the holocaust the number in the arm is a real I.D number of a prisoner of the holocaust and a member of the temple this was a gift given to the temple 

At the start of the service they had a lighting of the candle prayers the parents of the baby in the baby naming ceremony did a prayer and lit the candles together 

Behind these white curtains they kept the tora (Jewish bible) during the service a few times I wintness  the rabbi open and closed the curtains and prayed and face and bowed to the toras the cantor would sing and face and bow at the toras along with members of the temple bowed at the knees and then at the waist 

At the end of the service I spoke to the rabbi and he showed me the toras he open the curtains for me open up the tora he says the tora isn’t used at every service so it was special he took them out for me to photograph them and exam them there made of animal skin there rolled up and protected 

As he explains to me about the tora rabbi mark says in the tora there isn’t any names no chapter numbers no page numbers no titles every rabbi reads from the same part around the world and they unroll some portion read from that spot once they get to the end they start all over the unroll it in the temple and roll it back up to start again 

 Picture  Rabbi Mark  Goldfarb 

 holding the tora before he opens it and shows it to me 

Wine and bread the oneg (reception) kiddush tray featuring kiddush wine (a sweet wine) “not juice” and slice challah (braided egg bread) with which begin the oneg 

A little gift I came home with Jewish calendar 

All the flyers and papers I was given in the temple