Abaco Is­lands, Ba­hamas

Adam My­hill

Hayo - - Contents -

Carved wood in an­gu­lar pat­terns, the snap of chil­dren’s cheap fire­works, noo­dles and veg­eta­bles and soy, and a hun­dred an­i­mals dipped whole into snick­er­ing oil. Coins tin­kle in good luck foun­tains.The shelves of the cu­rio shops heave with pos­si­bil­ity. Silken gowns nee­dled with branch­ing trees shim­mer in the shop-worn half-light over herbal reme­dies with mys­ti­cal po­etry and freshly dipped in­cense sticks.

Within locked vit­rines, the shim­mer of a green stone softly beck­ons, shaped by an an­cient civ­i­liza­tion since the dawn of recorded time. Jade. A fleshy, green milk stone shaped with knives and pol­ished into un­du­lat­ing sculp­tures and tal­is­mans, scep­tres and pipes, the del­i­cate petals of a pe­ony and the fierce teeth of a danc­ing dragon. Each is made with mil­len­nia of charm and lore, craft and knowl­edge, force and spirit—more com­plex than can ever be de­ci­phered.

Am I just another West­erner with vi­sions of ex­oti­cism and chi­nois­erie? Maybe, but here these sights are met with rev­er­ence, my ig­no­rance ac­knowl­edged. I have freed my­self to love these shad­ow­bright com­plex­i­ties, drag­ging with it all the awk­ward in­ti­ma­cies and in­evitable fuck-ups.

The stone is not stone, but pure color. Gemmy pos­si­bil­ity soft enough to statue. An­cient al­ready when the first of the an­cient his­to­ri­ans whose work has sur­vived at­tempted to de­ci­pher the carv­ings of a lost world. They could only guess the Six Rit­ual Jades—heaven and earth, plus the four car­di­nal di­rec­tions: north and west, south and east.

#5SECONDVACAY ABACO IS­LANDS, BA­HAMAS PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM MY­HILL

AN EX­CERPT FROM JADE / #00A86B, A PRO­JECT BY AN­DREW BERARDINI

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