(ZHU MING, Chinese, B. 1938)
Taichi Series - Single Whip
signed 'Ju Ming' in Pinyin, numbered '27/40' (engraved on lower back)
bronze sculpture
45.7 x 18.2 x 27.5 cm. (18 x 7 1/8 x 10 7/8 in.)
edition 27/40
Executed in the 1980s
Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

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Lot Essay

In the mid 1970s, Ju Ming began to learn Taichi under the advice of his teacher Yang Ying-feng, he began his art practice from physically engaged to Taichi in order to comprehend its inner spirit. This series exemplifies Ju's departure from narratives and the figurative to a style of pure spiritualism that marks and establishes the maturity of his modern sculptures. The 'Taichi Series" establishes Ju Ming's importance in Asian art history, and it is also a distinctive milestone in the progression of Asian art, both in its visual language and its transcendental refinement of traditional Eastern culture. The two Taichi Series - Single Whip sculptures differ in years and media of production, such difference is an obvious reflection of Ju Ming's consideration and progress on modeling during his creation of the Taichi Series. In the 1980s Taichi Series - Single Whip (Lot 1113), we can still notice the artist's concern about realism as reflected in his rendering of the arms and wide sleeves. "Single whip" is the lowest posture among all the movements and postures of Taichi, it is a low profile way to avoid enemy by sinking one's body, however, with the use of stiff and solid lines, Ju Ming brings about the hidden energy and the readily movement of raising to strike back. The Taichi Series (Lot 1114) in 1998 was made of camphor wood, with the artist's mastery of the wood's natural vein and the sharply cut short straight lines, the solid facet exhibits strands of simmering energy. Together, the sinking left shoulder and lifting right leg bring about a sense of movement; the coherence between different parts of the sculpture suggests that the same coordination is required by Chinese boxing between body and mind, Ju Ming captures an instantaneous moment of the flowing Taichi movement, allowing the intense aggression to hide within a stable positioning, and hence display the balance and struggle between the contrasting movement and stability. There's a Taichi proverb saying that one should "direct your spirit with grace, and strike with force". With the clean-cut and staunch outline, Taichi Series (Lot 1115) exhibits an out-burst of accumulated energy, the out-stretching arms are taking the lead to strike, while the sharp cut on the leg part shows the establishment of a strong base, suggesting that the upper and lower part of the sculpture is a combination of attack and defense. Taichi Series is not a mere imitation of certain series of skill and posture in Taichi, it is an exemplification of the artist's thorough comprehension in Chinese Boxing, its external form is a reflection of Taichi's internal spirit, rhythm and strength of the force is completely embodied in the transition of body language.

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