Ren Yu (Chinese, B. 1945) "Year of the Ox" Signed lower right. Watercolor on Illustration Board.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting originally appeared on the Fleetwood First Day Cover of the Lunar New Year Series 32c The Year of the Ox stamp issued January 5, 1997.
Dating back to the 27th C. B.C., the Chinese calendar is a combination of symbolism and mathematical complexities. Twelve animals are associated with the calendar -- the rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. During the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220), the Chinese calendar was organized into repeating 12 year cycles, with each year designated by 1 of the 12 animals. The Chinese commonly refer to the year by its animal name -- 1997 was the Year of the Ox. Those born in a given year are said to share that animal's character traits. Thus, people born during the Year of the Ox are strong, proud, eloquent and self-sacrificing. One of the myths surrounding the origins of this system tells of a great race held between the animals for the Heavenly Jade Emperor. The participants were assigned their places in the calendar according to how they finished. The rat finished first while the boar came in last.
Image Size: 15.75 x 13.5 in.
Overall Size: 17.75 x 15.5 in.
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