Year of the Dragon

Item #





Qing Late 19th Century


Ink & pigment on paper




overall 84" x 20" (213 x 51 cm); image 51" x 11-5/8" (129 x 29 cm)





There are 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. Therefore, everyone that is born will have an animal identification. There are books that tell about the personalities and characteristics of people born in those particular years. It is an intriguing and interesting thing that people discuss and talk about. The following painting refers to an animal year. However the story that is related is not reflecting the character or personality of a person born in that year, but is simply a story in Chinese literature that came to mind with the artist who drew this painting. He was undoubtedly a scholar who loved to draw and used the excuse of creating a series of zodiac related paintings. That artist's name was Wang Su. The paintings were done in the late 19th century, before the end of the Qing Dynasty.

Painting of the year of the dragon, showing a boy in the foreground and a dragon issuing from the waves. This is the story of a boy who was a novice in a monastery. His teacher was Long Quan. The boy went for an errand but did not return for a long time. When he finally came back, Long Quan asked why he had been gone so long. The boy said he had been watching 2 dragons frolicking in the waves. Then he took his begging bowl and showed it to Long Quan. In the bowl were the 2 dragons.



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