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For the past 5 or 6 weeks I've had very little illustration work, which has given me an opportunity to feel what it would be like if I were a full-time printmaker. I like it! But lately the day job is ramping up again so I'm back to being a printmaker in my spare time.
Tonight I started on the Great Wall of China print in the Borders series. China is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations, dating back more than six thousand years, and its history is dense and, for me, daunting. I'm a Japanophile, though, and much of what I love about Japanese culture came to Japan via China - Buddhism, the writing system, and many of the traditional crafts including my beloved woodblock printing. So at least I have that connection to begin with.
The Great Wall was built over the course of many centuries, but it was begun by China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in 221 BCE to defend the country from marauding bands of nomadic horsemen from the north. Hundreds of thousands of men were mobilized, and an unknown number died building this 3,000 mile long barrier. You can find more history of the Great Wall at this link.
To begin my print, I located a satellite view of a section of the wall that appealed to me to use as a starting point. I liked the mountains north of the wall and the cultivated land south of the wall in this view. This location is somewhere north and west of Beijing. Unfortunately I didn't make a careful notation of the exact spot and now I can't find it again.