THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER
PART II ‘Butterfly Lover’, (Drawing Two donated to SAVE WILD TIGERS)
Amoy has survived and thrived under the protection of the Tigress Warriors and grown into the most magnificent male tiger that ever lived in China. He rolls on his back in the sunshine and plays with butterflies. Softly the music of the ‘Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto’ drifts over him and turns into musical notes glistening on his sleek fur. Then, the butterflies begin to transform and suddenly the beautiful face of Zhu Yingtai appears on the wings of the first butterfly. Amoy is so entranced by her beauty, he begins to dream of a mate. All of a sudden the face of the most beautiful tigress he could ever imagine emerges on the wings of the second butterfly. Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo, the ‘Butterfly Lovers’, begin to appear on his fur. Amoy smiles – he rolls over and dreams of his mate and the survival of his species, and continues to play with butterflies.
(Written especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS The Legend of the Last South China Tiger accompanies a drawing diptych, of which the second drawing ‘Butterfly Lover’ has been donated to Save Wild Tigers and will be exhibited alongside the work of 20 inspirational artists, curated by Lauren Baker, in ‘THRIVE’ Exhibition, Sanderson Hotel, London, 14th – 19th May and auctioned at the Mango Tree Tiger Dinner, 20th May)
I wrote this legend especially for Save Wild Tigers. ‘Yin and Yang’ was inspired by images from the films ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’, Ang Lee, 2000, ‘Hero’, Zhang Yimou, 2002, ‘House of the Flying Daggers’, Zhang Yimou, 2004, ‘Red Cliff’, John Woo, 2008 and ‘2046’, Wong Kar-wai, 2004. Taking still photographs of all five films I used these images as inspiration for this drawing. Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi and Faye Wong become the Goddesses in the clouds of Yang. The fate of some captive South China tigers is reflected on the sword of the most powerful Tigress Warrior. ‘Butterfly Lover’ the second drawing made specially for Save Wild Tigers, was inspired by the epic and moving ‘Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto’, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, 1959 (梁祝小提琴协奏曲 the Chinese title appearing on the fur of Amoy’s shoulder). The face of the heroine Zhu Yingtai from the old Chinese legend ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is that of Faye Wong from ‘2046’. The drawings symbolise the fate of the South China tiger subspecies, which is thought to only survive in captivity but also carries a message of hope, that Save Wild Tigers are working tirelessly to ensure other tiger subspecies will continue to play with butterflies.
There are less than 3500 tigers left in the wild and thought to be no South China Tigers surviving in the wild. Join SAVE WILD TIGERS today and help save wild tigers!
20 limited edition archival pigment prints of ‘Butterfly Lover’, made by Jack Lowe Studio will be available to purchase from 14th May with ALL profits donated to Save Wild Tigers. ‘South China Tiger’ diptych will be released later this year as part of my fine China limited edition plate series “In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia” to celebrate the majesty of tigers and highlight their decline through wildlife crime.