“The Da Vinci Codex…”

“…Codex Atlanticus,” to be exact. Last week, I finally made it back to Tsinghua University Art Museum to catch the exhibit: “Dialogue with Da Vinci” before it closes next week. I waited until I could secure someone who could read Mandarin as I assumed that, like the permanent exhibits, this would not be in English. I pressed Sophia, one of the teachers at work, and Minnie (“she’s so tiny”) to join me. Much to my surprise, the exhibit was, in fact, curated in English. It was a remarkable show and displayed in some of the best curation I’ve ever seen. All of the photos shown below, from the show, are recreations of the manuscripts. The last part of the exhibit was a low-lit room (for obvious reasons) with the pages of the actual Codex manuscripts displayed in glass housing. The lighting was too poor to take pictures and flash photography was prohibited.

The last part of the show was in a room with a large digital recreation (in scale) of the original “The Last Supper” or as Sophia called it, “The Last Dinner?” Juxtaposed, was the digital recreation of “The Tongerlo Abbey copy” by sixteenth century artist, Giampietrino who was commissioned to paint the reproduction when it became clear that the original was decaying and beyond repair. The show deconstructed both paintings side by side. It was an amazing display! You can get a taste of deconstruction by clicking on the above link.

Prior to the show, the three of us had lunch at a multiple-award winning, Sichuan restaurant chain with an outpost in Los Angeles. As seems to always be the case, the translations of Mandarin into English is a source of never-ending bemusment.

I am so lucky that this new museum is only a 15 minute walk from my apartment!

Minnie and Sophia and yours truly, enjoying lunch on our day off. Next stop: Da Vinci.

Minnie and Sophia and yours truly, enjoying lunch on our day off. Next stop: Da Vinci.


“Not greasy but not bad [with the] taste of leather.” Um, um, now who can turn that down?


Can someone please explain to this English teacher exacty what an “old hen collocation” is?


“The beef is soft yet the elasticity is maintained.” Loosely translated: “This beef is rubbery.”



This was our chicken dish. As it was prepared Shichuan style, care had to be taken to avoid the hot spices!


The dish on the left is Lotus. It’s interesting, if not exactly compelling.


I find the text of menus to be a source of endless amusment.


“Fishy smell of mutton” you say?



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This is his sketched idea of a parachute brought to life.


He was fascinated by the machinery of war and devised all sorts of offensive and defensive weaponry.


In addition to the very large crossbow, he devised a portable bridge for use over waterways (middle model.)


His interest in flight and his models were based on the physiology of bats.


Among his many diagrams were submarines, helicopters and SCUBA appartus.