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Year of the Dragon

ear of the dragon

The story of the picture started many months ago when we met a Chinese businessman and stamp collector who lives in London. When Jack Zhang got acquainted with my pictures painted with stamps it was his idea that we should go to China to present my art there. We connected also the manager of the Hungarian Liszt Institute in Beijing and she did like the idea as well.


While my husband dealt with the organizational part, I was occupied with finding the right idea for a picture to me made for this occasion. The topic I chose was the Chinese horoscope. In the course of my research, I found a photo of a relief of a Taoist church featuring the Yin-yang symbol in the middle rounded by the zodiac signs. I made thus the decision to make 12 + 1 pictures which would form a large picture being put together. I found the shape quickly with a dodecagon in the middle rounded by twelve trapezoids. The exact design was made by my husband. I laid down the zodiac signs themselves which followed by choosing the colours. In the result of the new research made I learned that there are five colours in the basis of the Chinese culture, yellow, red, black, white and green. It was a hard job to find the suitable stamps, I spent days to reach the best solution. I found a Dutch stamp series giving yellow and red for me while stamps in green were Hungarian pictures. Th very small pieces were produced by my husband with the help of a good scissors and using many-many hours to accomplish the job.


Going back to my research I learned much new things for myself about the Chinese horoscope. The Chinese horoscope used for hundreds of years differs significantly from the astrological systems used by the western world. In the western system the zodiac signs match to a month while the zodiac signs of the Chinese horoscope match to a whole year. It is based on a Buddha legend which animals were chosen to be a sign. According to the legend Buddha invited the animals to visit him before leaving the world but only twelve of
them responded. As a sign of his gratefulness Buddha named a year for each of them according to the order of their arrival: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. I started to make the pictures in the same order. In each case I started to paint the animal with green followed by the red background. The gluing of the tiny stamp pieces was Sisyphean task but it was a great joy as well when I finished one. I applied a yellow background for the dragon knowing that the year starting with February 10, 2024 is the year of the dragon.


To paint Yin-yang remained to be the last task. The origin of the Yin-yang precept is incorporated in an ancient Chinese idea according to which any phenomenon, should it be human or natural has two opposite but not inevitably contradictory sides. I think this part was the hardest to paint as it is always with white and black. One can see a small circle on each side, which I made using an embroidery.


The system of frames is an important part of this art piece. Our English friend Michael Spring, az excellent framer working in Luton was the one to solve this challenging task. We told him our wish, to have 13 separate pictures which can be transported easily and assembled to form the picture on the exhibition venue. Finishing the task, Michael told that this was the most exciting he had ever done.

Size:  D = 130
Status: on offer

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