Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
Welcome to Phase 1. In Phase 0 I narrowed down the list of inquiry projects I wanted to do, and I chose one. My inquiry project is a blend of wood carving/door making, legends/stories, and religious studies, but my main focus is wood carving/door making. In Phase 1 I will be talking more about my inquiry project and posing big questions I have about my project that will be answered while I am in Xizhou.
What do I already know?
Wood carving is an important feature in Xizhou. I know that wood carving is a challenging skill and needs lots of hard work. I have learned that what the people in Xizhou carve are beautiful yet meaningful. It relates to many things especially their religious beliefs and legends/stories. People can learn a lot about the Xizhou background if they just ask about what a certain carving represents or what it is showing. I also think there are about three or four different religions in the village we will be at, including Islam and Buddhism. I have learned from a previous student that the more educated people are less religious while the less educated people are more religious. I do not know any stories from Xizhou yet, but I think that many of the stories in Xizhou will relate to different spirits or monsters because there are many Chinese stories that are like that and there is a possibility they might relate to each other.
Where did I learn these things?
I learned this from previous students. The students I learned from are *Alisa K. (C), *Jie Ling T. (N) and *Sara L. (J). I also learned about different Chinese stories from my Chinese teachers. I have also learned different Chinese stories form reading Children's Chinese books as a younger child. I learned about wood carving with my grandpa. My grandpa loves to build and he carves wood all the time. I have seen him do it and I have learned that it is a long process but in the end, when it is finally finished, it was worth the wait. I know that in Xizhou when talking about religion, I will have many connections with the Muslims because I am also a Muslim and that is one of the religions in Xizhou. (I learned this religion ever since I was born).
What do I want to know?
I want to learn about the types of stories the people in Xizhou were told either as adults or kids. It will then give me a better understanding of things that they do or do not do or things they avoid. I am interested in how they manage to pass down these stories to different people. Do they just tell one person and it keeps getting passed on? Or do they do it a different way? I want to know what famous wood carvings there are in Xizhou and what tools they use. Also what wood they use to carve with and why. Lastly, I want to know how religious the people in Xizhou are compared to other places or even compared to me and my family. How do they practice their religion is on thought I have about the religious studies.
The next step is to do some background research which can be found in Phase 3. This research will prepare me for which questions I would like to ask later on.
I am supposed to come up with 10 questions I have about my inquiry project. This will be the "fuel" for the beginning of my topic when I get to Xizhou. The words in italics underneath the questions are the possible answers to my questions. The questions are grouped by category, for example, it goes wood carving, legends/myths, and religious studies.
"Old Questions" That Have Been Answered:
Wood carving related topics:
1.) What tools do they use to carve?
The straight chisel and the spoon gauge are tools I know you use for wood carving
2.) About how long does it take to carve an object?
Maybe a couple of weeks to one month depending on what you are carving.
3.) How long have the Bai people been wood carving?
Probably about 2,150 years. (The Bai people have been around for about 2,200 years
4.) Who is the oldest wood carver in Xizhou?
I want to guess that the oldest would carver would be around 80-87 years old.
Myths/stories related questions:
5.) What are the most common myths/stories in Xizhou?
Since I already know some of the Chinese famous stories I will use that as my base for the most common stories in Xizhou. The stories I know are the jade rabbit, the moon princess, and more.
6.) Are the stories in Xizhou made up there or are they "remakes" of other stories?
I am guessing most of them were made up/for Xizhou but at least one or two are remakes of different stories such as Cinderella.
7.) How old are the myths the people in Xizhou were told?
Probably around 60 years old.
Religious studies related questions:
8.) How has Muslim religion in Xizhou, grown or decreased in the past years?
The Muslim religion is naturally growing, but not decreasing.
9.) Do people with different religions live in different areas in Xizhou or are they all mixed?
I feel like different parts of Xizhou have different communities of religions. For example here in Shanghai, there is an area where there are a lot of Muslims who sell foods, have their own shops and most of the people who live there are Muslims.
10.) What is the most practiced religion in Xizhou?
The most practiced religion in Xizhou is Buddhism.
Before I go off to Xizhou I want to have one big question that I will work on first. I want that question to be related to wood carving because that is my main topic and also because it is the anchor of my blended project as a whole. Then I will move on into big questions for myths/stories and religious studies. (As it shows in the sequence of my 10 questions up above). I will need to research more and prepare my work for Xizhou so that I am able to get right to it in Xizhou without any delays. So far in Phase 1, I have come up with 10 questions, started doing some research on my inquiry project and I wrote down the things I need to know, want to know, and already know.
I am now moving on to Phase 2, where I will be finding helpful resources.