2015 china visited

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by land, air and water Ian Bateson, art director, designer and graphic artist


4,1771 kilometers or 2,596 miles by air, land and water


A traditional Hutong family house 4 Temple of Heaven 7 Tiananmen and Forbidden City 8 The Great Wall of China 12 Ming Temple and Tombs 15 Summer Palace 16

Xi’an The 8000 Terra Cotta Army


Jingzhou and Yangtze Cruise

Jingzhou city tour The Three Gorges Dam Excursion of the Wu Gorge The Shibaozhai Disembarking at Chongqing

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Suzhou Liu Garden Old town of Suzhou Shanghai Museum Shanghai site seeing

My artwork whilst in China About Ian Bateson Other books All works are Copyright Ian Bateson©2015


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Jean—my wife and partner of 40 years—had expressed a desire to travel to China for a number of years and I personally didn’t put this as a high on my bucket list for places to travel. I was accustomed to travelling independently and thought there were perhaps too many pitfalls to enjoying a trip to this part of the world, as neither of us could speak the language and it’s a big country with so much to see, the first question was where to start and the last being expense. In early 2014 a good friend travelled with a tour group—Sinorama—returning with glowing reports of her personal 15 day trip, so I agreed to accompany Jean. I still had concerns based on my own research through forums; China Eastern Airlines used old smelly planes, the food was boring and small in servings, and you had to crouch when using the toilets and make sure you pack your own toilet paper as this nation of 1.36 billion people didn’t supply it. The last was my biggest concern, I might be able to get down (squat), just not sure if I could get up again. So we booked. What an experience Sinorama provided. All the highly critical forums I had read now sounded hollow. So one shouldn’t rely on forums for advice when travelling, just do it. This 15 day tour would take 2 days just to fly to and from China. We flew from Vancouver to Shanghai with a two hour stop over, then a further two hour flight to Beijing where we would meet our National China tour guide named Jia Bing Shan or Jack for those of us with short memories. Jack greeted our 31 member tour group at the airport and once we were escorted to our bus (Bus #7) he informed his tired and shocked audience the following days would require we be ready and on the road no later than 8:30 am. Bed on that first night — after travelling 15 hours—didn’t materialize until 1:00 am and 6:00 am rushed upon us for the start of our incredible Chinese experience hosted by our indomitable national guide, Jack. Our day tours would end back at a hotel no earlier than 9:00 pm. By the time we arrived back in Shanghai for our return to Vancouver we had covered approximately 4,1771 kilometers or 2,596 miles by road air and water. v 3

Beijing, Saturday, April 4. 8:30 am to 9:30 pm A traditional Hutong family house 9:00 am. This was to be a full days itinerary, with our tour guide (Jack) explaining he was going to introduce us first to a traditional Beijing Hutong—Hutong a Mongolian word meaning “water well”— whose traditional neighborhoods and buildings date back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). Once off the bus we where escorted through the tiny streets (no wider than 30 feet) by rickshaw, viewing small, bustling markets and people going about their business Although originally formed in the Yuan Dynasty, these neighborhoods developed quickly during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Initially there were roughly 29 Hutongs, then during the Ming Dynasty (1368 –1644), they increased to 1,070. In the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), then grew to 2,076. By 1949 there were as many as 3,250 surrounding the Forbidden City. Today no more than 1,000 remain and Jack pointed out the governments commitment to preserving what remains for future generations, whilst the rest of Beijing grows at a breathtaking rate of 20% per decade and today, unofficial estimates, put the population at 21-22 million, almost the entire population of Canada. v Photography left to right: Jack our national—indomitable—guide. 31 rickshaws at the ready. A stop at the local outdoor market. Visiting a family home. Jean at the entrance of the home.




Temple of Heaven, 10:30 pm. This temple built in 1420 during the period of the Ming Emperor Yongle has to be the most spectacular wooden structure I have seen. Reflecting the Confucian view of the world, the square base represents Earth and the three circular roofs represents Heaven which the Emperor serves as intermediary between humans and the divine order. The ornamental painting of rich gold, blues and reds shine from a distance as you enter the splendid red gates and the surrounding parkland provides for a tranquil setting in this bustling metropolis. Senior citizens of Beijing have free access to this park and could be seen enjoying the escape from the noise and bustle whilst playing cards or the ubiquitous game of Mahjong. Jack pointed out that gambling is illegal in China, so no evidence of money at the tables We then broke fro a traditional Chinese lunch in the city before heading for our longest site visit, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. At lunch it was interesting to note how many North Americans where not accustomed to the daily Chinese practice of small plates and sharing food. The lunch was good and then we all got back on the bus for our next stop. v

Photography left to right: The Emperor humbled himself at this temple, considered to be one of the great historic sites of China. Temple entrance doors. Detail of the temple. Incense burners at the foot of the temple. Today people enjoy the temple grounds in ways Westerners could never do.


Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, 1:30 pm. Once back on the bus Jack and Julie explained that we had landed in Beijing on a The Qingming Festival, otherwise known as Tomb Sweeping Day, Grave Sweeping Day, All Souls Day and it is China’s slightly less colorful answer to Mexico’s —Day of the Dead. So the next two destinations would be very busy. Walking and trying to avoid the crowds in the middle of this immense public space—Tian’anmen Square—represents the past and present, where once the Emperor’s high officials once did business. Now one finds Mao’s Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People and the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Walking north toward The Forbidden City’s entrance—Mao Zedong’s immense portrait peers from the gate—which once only admitted those closest to the Emperor and his court. Entering what everyone who has seen on the movie, The Last Emperor, one recognizes The Forbidden City’s first large inner sanctum of the palace and the Gate of Supreme Harmony, the inner sanctum of the worlds largest palace; 861,113 square yards or 720,000 square meters. v

Photography left to right: Crowds walking Tiananmen Square towards the Forbidden City gates. The Gate of Supreme Harmony. Detail of rain water down pipe. Entering the Hall of Supreme Harmony. See next page for more photo’s from this amazing visit.



Photography left to right: The magnificent Hall of Supreme Harmony (Palace) is the centre of the Forbidden City. Our guides explained, the Emperor dictated the entire court yard be tiled many feet down ensuring no assassins could tunnel into his palace. So no trees or natural water access in the heart of this palace. Water was collected in large copper cylinders as pictured below. The residence of the Dragon Lady, Empress Dowager, Cixi, who held the reins of the empire for over 50 years. The Imperial Gardens are relatively small, and compact in design. The East Glorious Gate, our exit from the Forbidden City. Image far right, a large copper storage tank.


The day was long and wonderous. Jack and our local guide loaded some very tired travellers onto the bus to our final destination for dinner and a Chinese Opera. I had experienced these operas on a very small scale when visiting Malaysia in the seventies. It’s a very dissonant sound to the Western ear and carries stories of ancient history or events. I noticed many of our 31 group where either sleeping or bravely trying to pay attention. We were done and arrived back at the hotel late and where told the same routine would follow the next day and we would leave our hotel no later than 8:30am. v


Beijing, Sunday, April 5. 8:30 am to 9:30 pm Our trip to the Great Wall 10:20 am. Jack was proud of his group for being on time and ready to trot for the estimated 2 hour trip (60 Kilometers) to the Great Wall of China. This portion of the wall—from the north tower—had been completely renovated with funds donated by the Pakistan Government and opened in 1989 as a token of eternal friendship between the two countries. Both our guides managed to provide fast tickets, allowing us to avoid the incredibly long queues and then left us to choose our own route to explore and a time—two hours—to meet and return to the bus. Jean and I quickly picked a route that we thought might be a reasonable destination high on the right of this valley. We where neither prepared for the incredible numbers of people—being a national holiday—or the incredible steepness of certain portions that we traversed. The weather was excellent and we managed to get within feet of our quest, then returned via the outside path having no further desire to compete with the crowds. v Photography left to right: We were lucky that our guides had booked ahead so we could avoid the hour wait for tickets. Fighting the crowds and an incredibly steep ascent . Jean at the second to last tower overlooking the North Eastern valley. Decent on the outer wall path. Looking West from the top.




Ming Temple and Tombs, 3:17 pm. We stopped for lunch at an enamel and porcelain factory where artisans painstakingly create pots, dinner wear and household goods. Then onto the famous Ming Tombs, covering an area of 46.3 square miles or 120 square kilometers and housing the largest number of emperors tombs from the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. We visited the Changling site—the building in the large picture at left—is the only well preserved tomb palace from the Ming Dynasty. It was originally built for making sacrifices to the Emperor Zhu Di and Empress Xu, and now houses artifacts such as fine jade carvings and other precious articles found near the Changling Tomb of Emperor Zhu Di. This tomb remains unopened until archeologists can find a way to preserve the silk garments found in previous excavations, which upon opening—and within minutes—deteriorated and lost all their colour and lustre. Our day ended back in Beijing with a traditional roast duck dinner and then another late arrival at our hotel to sleep before starting another early day to visit the Summer Palace and then fly to our next destination Xi’an and the Terra Cotta Army site. v Photography left to right: The Emperor Zhu Di’s remembrance palace. Entrance to the tomb. From the top of the tomb entrance, looking back at the palace. One of many precious jades on display at the palace. The mausoleum inscription and a bronze sculpture of Emperor Zhu Di.


Beijing, Summer Palace, April 6. 9:00 am to 10:30 pm Arrived at The Summer Palace 11:30 am. We only had one more visit on this tour through the district of Beijing, The Summer Palace and it was also the first morning where Jack mentioned a time of departure that produced 31 cheers—sleep in until 7:30 am and head out by 9:00 am—from there we would head to the airport and fly to Xi’an. Situated in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing City, the Summer Palace is 9.3 miles, 15 kilometers from central Beijing. Being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, it influenced Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests, which also has long since been recognized as ‘The Museum of Royal Gardens’.

Photography left to right: An early morning view from our hotel and our fair well to an exhausting, but brilliant 3 days in this northern region. Viewing the bridge from the Spacious Pavilion (Kuoru Ting). It was also called the “Pavilion of Eight Dimensions” where the Emperors poems and writings where inscribed hanging from the inside of the structure. Temple on the island. Bronze Ox (Tongnlu). View of the lake from the entrance. 16

The construction started in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It later became the main residence of royal members at the end of the Qing Dynasty. v


Xi’an, Tuesday, April 7. 10:30 am to 8:30 pm The Museum of the 8000 Terra Cotta Army 1:30 pm. Jack and the local guide insisted we stay together before entering the three museums and were given 3 hours to tour at our own pace once directions were given for our meeting point and time. What a relief, all I wanted at this stage was to observe at our own pace, this was a highlight for Jean—and a dream realized. The museum is the actual site of the excavations, opened to the public in 1979. First discovered by a local farmer—who I thought sadly, now spends his time in the entrance signing books and proffering gifts for money—an actual local hero for bringing prosperity to this once impoverished farming region. Introduction at the gates: The Museum of the Terra Cotta Army was opened to the public in 1979 and is a world-famous site. The main exhibits of this museum are three exposed pits with clay warriors and horses and the hall of two bronze chariots and horses. Approximately 8,000 clay warriors horses and more than 10,000 weapons. This treasure of the Qin Dynasty’s military, science, technology, art and culture was granted a UNESCO “World Heritage Site”—and is the 8th wonder of the world. This site is still undergoing exploration and restoration and will take many more years to complete.


What an amazing site and all dedicated to one Emperors’ vanity and his belief these warriors would protect him in the after life. Work is still ongoing at pit one—the largest— and has a section at the back of the building where you can view the dig and the place—locals name The Infirmary—where new finds are resurrected. Our day ended with a dumpling banquet and a wonderful Chinese opera in Xi’an. v



Jingzhou, April 8-9. a five day Yangtze cruise Tour Jingzhou, 9:00 am, then depart cruise, 9:30 pm. After a 2 hour flight from Xi’an to Wuhan and prior to departure on the Sinorama Gold 8 river cruise, we had a tour of the Jingzhou Museum to view the excavated remains of a well preserved corpse, carbon dated to 167 BC along with 563 artifacts found at the same burial site. This ancient walled city, once the Chu’s capital—770 to 221 BC—also offered us the opportunity to view one of China’s oldest remaining walled cities. The museum provided galleries, presenting ancient Chinese lacquer ware, wooden artifacts and garments recovered from other burial sites and archaeological digs in and around Jingzhou. Arrived at the vessel, Sinorama Gold 8 at 3:00 pm, enjoyed a lavish dinner before setting sail in the evening for a 4 night, 5 day cruise between Jingzhou in the east and Chongqing in the south west. v

Photography left to right: The Jingzhou Museum. A well preserved corpse, carbon dated to 167 BC. Reconstruction of a silk brocade. Wooden lacquered food dish. The only surviving and original city wall tower dating back to 221 BC.



The Three Gorges Dam, April 10, 3:30 pm to 11:00 pm. This was our first day of resting in, enjoying a sumptuous breakfast and relaxing as we sailed through the eastern Xiling Gorge before our vessel docked for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam. After a buffet style lunch we headed for a bus and walking tour of the proclaimed largest hydro electric project in the world. The scale and time frame for its completion are impressive, with the project starting December 14, 1994, and completed July 4, 2006, a total construction period of just 12 years. Over this same time period, new cities where constructed to accommodate the displaced farmers, along with dozens of large scale bridges and a highway connecting all these new communities and also Shanghai in the south east and Beijing in the north. On arriving back at the cruise ship we slowly headed into one of the 5 staged shipping locks that would eventually take us 299 feet or 91 meters in height and into the Three Gorges Reservoir over a time period of 4 hours. Everyone rushed to the decks after dinner to watch our progress entering the reservoir at 11:00 pm. v

Photography left to right: From the top of the dam viewpoint. Locks looking toward the Three Gorges Reservoir. View of Dam walls from the Three Gorges Reservoir. Aerial of locks from the lower river. Entering the first of 5 locks.


Excursion to the Wu Gorge, April 11, 8:45 am. Shennv Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze offered an opportunity to view a relatively untouched area after the “the waters came” in respect to natural beauty and yes a changed landscape—one that still offers a tranquil setting aside from the extreme development we had witnessed in the first part of this trip. Our local guide brought with him a book that outlined the changed landscape, the third image (below) pictures the original bridge prior to flooding giving you a perspective of the volume of water that now fills this gorge. We passed through areas that have lost all human history as a result of the floods, but as a people of the Chinese Communist regime they appear to feel strongly, they have been well cared for after this decision—for the better of all—to create a power source that provides one fifth of the countries needs in electricity for decades to come. v

Photography left to right: Embarking to view the Wu Gorge. A new bridge after the “The Waters Came” as we enter the Wu Gorge. Our guide demonstrating the extent of the flooding. The rock formations reminded me of the colour mix one sees in the Denali mountains, Alaska. The ochre of the eastern plate mixed with the dark colour of the western plate. 24



The Shibaozhai, April 12, 8:30 pm to 11:00 pm. Shibaozhai, literally translates to Precious Stone Fortress was once nestled at the top of a mountain but now sits at water level protected by a surrounding 50 foot concrete wall, built prior to the last of the three floods. This 500 year old pagoda is now accessed by a bridge from the new town and the Buddhist temple is reached by steep stairs running up and through this nine-storey structure. At the top of Shibaozhai is a three-storied hall dedicated to Manjusri built during the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor (1850–1861), called the Purple Rain Pavilion. As the morning progressed the weather became humid and warm, the first sign of Spring since we arrived in China, and the realization we where now in a sub-tropical climate. As we set sail for the last time before disembarking the following morning we enjoyed the Captains farewell dinner and watched the Yangtze slip into darkness. v

Photography left to right: Shibaozhai pagoda from the river. Entering the new town. The bridge built to enter the pagoda. The 9-storey pagoda entrance. Looking up to the temple. View from the top of the temple.


Disembark at Chongqing, April 12, 8:00 am. Arriving at Chongqing at 6:00 am, we leisurely packed our bags, had a last buffet breakfast and thanking the staff disembarked into this city of 9 urban districts with a combined estimated population of between 6 to 7 million people. Chonqing is the largest direct controlled municipality in China, comprising 21 districts, 13 counties and 4 autonomous counties. Prior to our flight to Shanghai we spent an hour browsing the shopping and financial district standing in awe of this mini New York, sprinkled with high end stores, public art a bustling population. New hi-rise buildings popping up within dizzying time frames (19 days for a 57 storey building) unheard of in Canada. The last leg of this amazing journey was now to begin and we boarded the bus for the airport and a two hour flight to Shanghai. v

Photography left to right: Whilst still in my dressing gown I was amazed to witness many porters traditionally carrying resupplies for the ship. Jean has arrived in Chongqing. New buildings rising fast around the centre and outskirts of this fastest growing Chinese metropolis. Public art on every corner. 28


Shanghai, Monday, April 13-14. arrive late at hotel in Suzhou Suzhou Liu Garden April 14, 9:25 am. Jack asked that we be ready by 8:30 am for an excursion to the Liu Garden. The Chinese garden is a landscape garden style which has evolved over three thousand years. It includes both the vast gardens of the Chinese Emperors and members of the Imperial Family, built for pleasure and to impress, and the more intimate gardens created by scholars, poets, former government officials, soldiers and merchants, made for reflection and escape from the outside world. A typical Chinese garden is enclosed by walls and includes one or more ponds, rock works, trees and flowers, and an assortment of halls and pavilions within the garden, connected by winding paths and zig-zag galleries. By moving from structure to structure, visitors can view a series of carefully composed scenes, unrolling like a scroll of landscape paintings. v

Photography left to right: Specially imported rocks create a dynamic juxtaposition to greenery and buildings. Beautifully designed for all seasons. Maintenance an ongoing requirement. Meeting room for visitors in the middle of this reflective and peaceful setting. Song and storytelling would have been an integral part for the owner of such a garden.




Old town of Suzhou, April 14, 11:00 am. The city’s canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. The classical gardens in Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000. Suzhou is often dubbed the “Venice of the East” or “Venice of China” and we spent an hour just walking through one of these well preserved neighborhoods. Suzhou is one of the most prosperous cities in China. Its development has a direct correlation with the growth of its satellite cities, including Kunshan, Taicang, Changshu, and Zhangjiagang, which together with the city of Suzhou form the Suzhou prefecture. The Suzhou prefecture is home to many high-tech enterprises. Once we had finished our lunch it was time to drive 3 hours to the centre of Shanghai by coach. v

Photography left to right: View as we stepped off the bus. Jean photo opportunity. A wedding in progress, don’t know where the groom is? Older homes along the embankment. Looking back to the main road. A second canal we came across.


Shanghai Museum, April 14, 3:00 pm. We arrived late into the centre of Shanghai leaving only 2 hours for a tour of the magnificent Shanghai Museum. Established in 1952 and now housed in an impressive large four storey rotunda completed in 1996. Jean and I could easily have spent half a day wandering through the four large galleries housing The Ancient Chinese; Bronze, Sculpture, Painting, Seals, Calligraphy, Ceramics, Minority Nationalities, Jade, Furniture, Currency and Silk Road Galleries. We left the centre of the city at 5:00 and arrived at the Wyndham Bund hotel for our last two nights. Tomorrow was site seeing in the dynamic eastern city of Shanghai.

Photography left to right: Polychrome glazed pottery with a carved ribbon pattern. Copper Jian drum stand used in ritual ceremonies, banquets also in fighting fields in ancient China. A copper wine vessel, late Shang dynasty, 11th to 13th century BC. Wine vessel, mid Shang dynasty 13th to 15th century BC. Food vessel, early western Zhou dynasty, 11th century BC. Looking down into the large rotunda of the museums entrance. 34



Shanghai site seeing, April 15, 9:00 am. After a leisurely breakfast we headed to the promenade of the Bund Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu (East Zhongshan 1st Road), a famous river waterfront and once regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years, fronting the Huangpu River, the most important shipping artery of Shanghai. Jack pointed out the new city we faced, with its futuristic TV tower and other internationally designed modern buildings, constructed on what was once farm land. In the large picture on the left is the view from our hotel and looking down onto what were farmers houses which are quickly being replaced with modern apartment blocks. We also visited the famous shopping centre on Nanjing Road, and the The Old City also formerly known as the Chinese City, the traditional urban core of Shanghai and a silk factory and museum. Our last evening dinner was capped by a wonderful acrobatics show then back to the hotel to prepare for our departure back to Canada. Sinorama, our guides and in particular, Jack had provided us with a trip of a lifetime and many memories of a wonderful country and its people. v

Photography left to right: View of the new city from the Bund. Nanjing Road central shopping district. The Old City and one of our touring companions. Two shots from the Centre of the Old City.


Artwork using the Procreate app. China April 2015 Pieces produced during our limited downtime touring this country in April 2015. Using my iPad to take photo’s as we travelled, I reflected on appropriate metaphors and was sensitive to the Chinese palette; Reds and deep (reflex blue).

Knocking On China’s Door.


The Dragon Lady.

Heavenly Guardian.

Gate Keepers.


About Ian Bateson Education


1970 – 1974 Lancaster College Of Art. Graduated with Honours, Illustration and Graphic Design.

During his extensive travels, lan has visited some of the major world galleries such as; the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Tate in London, the Lourve in Paris, the National in Washington and Biennale in Venice. Through these collections, from the 18th Century William Turner to Picasso in the 19th Century and Willem de Kooning and the American abstract expressionists in the 20th Century, Ian discovered wonder and amazement when in the presence of such exceptional works of art.

Experience During the 1970’s and early 80’s Ian showed passion and dedication in the field of illustration and graphic design, having built a solid reputation with the publishing industry as an illustrator of children’s books and a designer and illustrator for academic publications. Ian worked with Douglas & McIntyre, UBC Press, Harbour Publishing and various other international houses. From 1986 to 2012, Ian helped build Baseline Type & Graphics Cooperative into a thriving creative design studio working for major corporations, businesses, government agencies and NGO’s to tell there individual stories through well crafted design and marketing solutions. Ian uses the skills he gained over 30 years, to apply his thoughts and imagination through personal, interpretive art. Ideas expressed through sketch books and finalized as digital art, then output to either giclees or limited edition laser prints.


The art of typography is also of keen interest to Ian. Influenced by William Caslon, John Baskerville for their wonderful type designs and Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Edwin Morgan, for their amazing concrete poetry.



Ian creates an impression, mood and emotion through use of colour and form. He takes from his immediate environment and reflects a visual metaphor. Something as banal as an electric meter for example will turn into an expression of questioning or perhaps anger or maybe a moment of reflection on an environment. v

2013-15 Procreate Art Book One This series of skulls were created after a trip—September, 2013—to Alaska, and are from photographs taken at the Fairbanks Museum and also during an amazing five day tour of the Denali Park. They were included in my first ISSUU book of work, completed in 2012-13 using the iPad and the Procreate app. v


Ian Bateson’s Studio

Book Two My second book—using Procreate in 2014—are whimsical interpretations of fossils, skulls and bones, positioned within environments I have visited and photographed over the course of two years.

Nineteen spreads provide you with a view of the original photographs and a description of the process to achieve the final art using an iPad You can view the book here: http://issuu.com/icreate/docs/i_procreate and Procreate app. v You can view the book here: http://issuu.com/icreate/docs/ 2014_iprocreate2b

B o o k T h r ee The following pages are a review of 28 pieces—by no means the entirety of output—from my remaining 2014 volume of work representing the themes of air, land, water and other. As with my previous Procreate art, many are derived from my travels in England, the US and Canada using photo’s taken then adding drawing, painting and effects for the multi-layered art work. v You can view the book here: http://issuu.com/icreate/ docs/2014procreated_inspirations

All works are Copyright Ian Bateson©2015


Ian Bateson, art director, designer and graphic artist tel. 604 984 9283 cell. 604 809 8409 mail. ibateson@baseline-graphics.com www.ianbatesonstudio.com


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