Everything began with this riddle, what I saw by chance in the description of a pair of polymer clay earrings while wandering through the Etsy pages like you do. This shop owner, DIMATSU100, offered these earrings for free to the first person to solve the riddle. I am not much of a riddle solver, and the last time that I won something, was forty years ago (!!), but this particular verse reminded me of a Turkish riddle, in which a human face is described in a similar way, with night black hair, a forehead as a hill, nose and mouth as doors, well and the two beasts could be the ears.
But on this hill,
Everything is still.
Three ways you can enter,
It is guarded by two beast.
If you can solve this riddle,
Then these earrings will be free.
So I convo’ed this shop owner with my solution for the riddle: a face. It turned out that I was completely wrong; I told you, not much of a riddle solver, am I. But this lady, Diana is her name, had apparently already decided that she wanted to give me those earrings, because she gave me a hint that I couldn’t miss. The riddle referred to the famous Sofukuji temple in Nagasaki, the oldest Chinese temple in Japan, dating back to 1629. This temple has a triple gate, brightly painted (‘three ways you can enter’) guarded by two mythological beasts.
Diana told me that Nagasaki, the city that has suffered so much, is the place where her mother grew up, and that in order to get to her mother’s house you have to enter though this temple. What a wonderful, personal way to get acquainted with a valuable piece of history!
Yesterday, I received the parcel, and I am speechless!
Diana sent me not one, but two pair of earrings, and they are GORGEOUS! It can not get more generous than this.
The polymer clay beads, made by herself, are like diminutive chrysanthemums, every petal delicately sculpted, with an eastern grace and eye for detail. There are many more of those in her shop, and believe me, they are a thousand times more beautiful in person.
So, thanks to Etsy’s lovely world, a half Japanese and half American pre-school teacher and painter living in the USA and a Spanish crazy-lady-that-can-not-solve-any-riddle and lives in Turkey, bonded.
Thank you, Diana, we will cherish your art.