In the painting, "Elephants and Sun," Chi-Jen Liu captures a ceremonial atmosphere: a male and a female elephant meet under a pagoda, each donning a lotus on its head. The lotus here symbolizes their intelligence and purity. Their gentle gazes portray the peace of this auspicious event when the forest's energies are harmonizing with the cosmos. The elephant pair seem to merge into the mountain face as if to emboss their spirits upon this blessed moment. In East Asia, elephants are highly regarded as tolerant, patient, and wise creatures. Their inherent strength, good memory, and protective instincts have earned them an elite stature in the animal kingdom.
The entire landscape is made of yin and yang elements. For example, the valleys are considered yin because they are deep and soft, whereas the mountains are yang because they are tall and solid. The waterfalls are yin because they are cooling and descending, and in contrast, the pagoda is yang because it rises toward the sun. The pagoda is a symbol of academic and career achievement. In feng shui, pagodas are placed in the homes and offices of ambitious students and entrepreneurs to attract energy for scholarship and success. Chi-Jen Liu suspends celestial constellations around the pagoda and draws mantra charms on each tier to summon blessings for fame and power.