In fact, I did get a fax from Dave on the very day I left the country, and it included info on the Stockbridge show as well as few other juicy art-related tidbits. I'll get to those tomorrow, I think. I still have to digest the faxes a bit more to get the info straight, and what I can and cannot say right now.
J-ay noticed the mention of the signifance of the number 250 in China. The number has old cultural significance in connoting being an idiot. You're a 250... you're an idiot. As with most idioms, people are generally unaware of the origins. In fact, I do not have the authoritative version at all, but I have the version that rings most true.
In ancient times, the coinage was strung together (through that square opening) in units of 1000 called a diao. As a measure of humilty in self-deprication of having high skills, the expression "half a diao" (half of 1000, or 500) was used (ban diao zi). Somewhere along the way, the connotation of being half of a half (or 250) became associated with true ignorance and foolishness. Think of it as our expressions that end up expressing that same idea (a few cards short of a full deck, a couple of tacos short of a platter, elevator does not go all the way to the top floor... you know the ones).
So the number 250 (er bai wu shi), generally shortened to er bai wu, and turned into a single word, erbaiwu, is used to connote being an idiot. As I hear it, people go out of their way to avoid this number, including not having the cost of something be 250 anythings.
I, of course, being an idiot, immediately purchased the painting of "250" from the "www.onethousandpaintings.com" site.
And that is the story behind "250."