"Sacred Bamboo Forest"
In Chinese culture, bamboo is analogous to someone of many virtues. Its hollow stem symbolizes a person's humbleness as well as an open mind. Its uprightness is considered an individual's strength and integrity. Its flexible quality is one's ability to adapt and accommodate. Being likened to bamboo means you are a balanced human being.
Bamboo is one of the “Four Noble Ones” which has been depicted in Chinese paintings since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The other three nobles are the orchid, plum blossom and chrysanthemum.
Chi-Jen Liu's "Sacred Bamboo Forest" focuses your gaze upon the light at the end of the tunnel. In his meditations, the artist enters this bamboo grove of peace. He gathers calmness and fulfillment, and makes these invisible blessings appear in his paintings. For instance, the trees at the bottom symbolize personal growth; the sun and moon radiate mantra charms imbued with the power to release negativity and to nurture prosperity. Like ephemeral aurorae, green mantra charms for wealth float among the clouds. Chi-Jen Liu coins them, "Fantasy fortune from heaven." He encourages you to meditate in this sacred forest, to cultivate a bamboo-like nature, and to work toward your dreams.
Trees make the forest; they symbolize life. Their hidden roots represent our culture, our ancestors, and the past experiences that define who we are today. Their outstretched branches represent our accomplishments, our children, and our hopes for the future. Flowering or fruit-bearing branches symbolize the beautiful qualities we have cultivated or the rewards of our efforts.
Many of the “Forest Series” paintings feature pines, palms, and bamboo. Pine trees are known to endure high altitudes, cold and dry climates, and in some cases, live to be over 1,000 years old! Hence, they symbolize rising above obstacles and longevity. Palm trees thrive in tropical and warm climates. They grow fast and tall – bending, but rarely breaking – so they convey growth and resilience. They also bear fruits like coconuts and dates, and provide welcome shade; so they denote fertility and peace as well. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It is known for its versatile uses in the culinary arts, building materials, textiles, instruments and tools. Bamboo is highly regarded in feng shui. It is often placed in homes and offices to attract energy for good fortune.
Chi-Jen Liu includes the moon and the sun in almost all of his artworks. These cosmic icons represent nature’s balancing act of night and day. The moon carries feminine, or yin, energy; the sun embodies masculine, or yang, energy. Yin-yang is the fundamental concept behind Taoism. It is the dual quality of Mother Nature – dark and light, cool and warm, female and male – that permeates the world and sustains the cycles of creation.