Photo by Billy
A Blessing received from Father Geama of St. Mary’s. The “Nine Dings” paintings are currently being displayed at the Art Museum in Cleveland, OH.
Made of bronze or ceramic in various shapes, the ding (or ting) is an ancient Chinese culture dated back to Shang Dynasty (circa 1600 – 1046 BC). King Yu the Great of Xia Dynasty (circa 2070 – 1600 BC) had a set of nine dings made when he divided his territory into nine provinces, and that possession of all nine was a “mandate of heaven” to rule all. Chinese-American artist Aiqin Zhou took it as her task to recreate Nine Dings through art to interpret the ancient history and traditional culture of Chinese history. To Zhou, the essence of Chinese culture deposited in its rich history is about spirit (jing), energy (qi), and soul (shen). Zhou chose the three-legged style of Zhou Dynasty ding as the three legs represent heaven, earth, and mankind. The Zhou Dynasty’s Emperor used the ding to celebrate his parents and to create the balance of yin and yang, prosperity and peace. Zhou also happens to be the family name of the artist herself. Decades of studying of Chinese classics and philosophies led Zhou to the contents of her calligraphy: the nine dings. The writing in Chinese history is know as: Records of the Grand Historian (Shi Ji) by Sima Qian (circa 145 – 90 BC). Zhou painted her nine dings using Chinese cursive style brush stroke and Chinese materials combined with the three-dimensionality of colors found in Western art. The different values of Chinese ink take vivid forms on traditional rice paper, bringing out the artist’s concept in stunning force and lucid elegance. Nine is the most important number in Chinese culture, associated with royalty, abundance and prosperity. Aiqin Zhou not only chose to paint nine dings, but to finish the work in the year 2009. It was the year that celebrated the year that marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between China and the United States, her motherland and her adopted country.*