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Chunya Zhou (b. 1955) Brotherhood signed in Chinese; editioned '4/8'; dated '2006' (on the back) bronze sculpture 75 x 69 x 50 cm. (29 1/2 x 27 1/8 x 19 5/8 in.) Edition 4/8 Executed in 2006

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Lot Essay

Zhou Chunya began creating his Green Dog series in 1997, which have now become some of the most iconic in the artist's oeuvre. Zhou's inspiration has been his German Shepherd, Heigen, who has been the main subject of the artist's Green Dog series for over a decade and has now been represented in a number of different painting and sculptural styles. For Zhou Chunya, the colour green is 'silent, romantic, and expressive'. In stark contrast to the surly hostility usually associated with German Shepherds, the green dogs' can did enthusiasm unexpectedly provides the observer with a soothing sense of comfort. The unique three-dimensional properties of the sculpture (Lot 125) not only convey a sense of perfect joy to the observer, they also reflect the delight and exuberance of the artist.
Taken from the classic masterpiece Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the 'Oath of the Peach Garden' is a tale known to all Chinese in which the future warlord and generals of the Shu Kingdom, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei became sworn brothers. Taking place during the third month of the year, where peach flowers are in bloom, this pledge became known as the 'Oath of the Peach Garden'. Their 'oath of fraternal loyalty, congeniality, and commitment to speak and act as one' has been valued for centuries. Zhou Chunya presents this tale with his famous image of the 'Green Dog' apparently basking in the spring sunlight under the peach tree. The dog, and his friends share in friendship and peace. However, the isolated, pared form of each dog also creates a distinct image of each being alone. This combination of dual significances hints at peace before the eruption of violence. Much like the brushstrokes of an oil painting, the sculpture's lines highlight the expressive tension of colour and an overall sense of volume inherent in the work itself, as though they were trying to present to the observer a sort of indomitable existential condition. And so, steeped as it is in both symbolism and existentialism, Zhou Chunya's Green Dog serves to reveal the existential condition of the individual.

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