Art Donation ‘Transports The Soul’

The six-month anniversary of 12/14 was chosen to unveil a new display at C.H. Booth Library.

A gift to the library by artist and former Sandy Hook resident Jean A. Mann, a miniature porcelain carved dragonboat is now enclosed in a glass case through the lobby near the main checkout desk. The piece, carved in 1979, was created in memory of Ms Mann’s friends Hazel Crawley, Jessica Davidson, and Marni Wood.

Her dragonboat, now permanently on display, will honor the 12/14 victims. Years ago she had promised the library one of her pieces of porcelain, she said.

“I am glad they have it.” Ms Mann said on June 14. “I gave my carved porcelain dragonboat to the C.H. Booth Library in memory of and after the terrible murders at the Sandy Hook School.”

Now living in New Fairfield, Ms Mann had been a Sandy Hook resident from 1964 to 1970.

As she spoke of her piece of art Friday afternoon, Ms Mann said that according to Eastern philosophy, “The purpose of a dragonboat is to gather the spirits — souls — of those who have died and to take them to their next incarnation.” Before carving the piece years ago, she had awakened one night envisioning the sculpture. Curiously, Ms Mann told those gathered at the library Friday, “I had never heard of a dragonboat before.”

The dragonboat she gave as a gift to the library is the second she has created. Her first dragonboat is one of ten of her pieces now at Yale University Art Gallery, part of its permanent collection.

“At the moment,” she noted, “two of my pieces, including the dragonboat, are now on view.”

The piece given to the Booth Library  is  1¾ inches long nose to tail and was created from one piece of porcelain. When she began the piece, she did not set a deadline for the creation.

“Each piece takes however long they take,” she said. “If you try to rush something you make mistakes. As you continue carving, you inadvertently get faster. I never time how long a piece takes, but I would guess the dragonboat took about three months.”

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