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Cattle Herders: painting by Dapu 197. Cattle Herders: Oil painting on canvas by Dapu (Ai Min Zhang), 2009

Called haoniu, in Chinese, these sturdy, shaggy, big-horned cattle are found only in the Himalayas, above 3,000 meters above sea level.  The scene is in the fall when the grasses are turning to hay.  In the center, a Tibetan cowboy rides his horse towards the tent-homestead where a woman greets him.  The Tibetan Plateau rolls through the center of the painting, and mountain ranges frame of the background.

It is a beautiful, colorful scene of life in the Himalayas, reminding me of the colors of some of the early impressionists.  Dapu told us that he wanted to capture this scene, in the fall,  so that he could make it bright.  He also tells us that it is the end of the season for cattle at higher altitudes and that the herders move down the mountain for the winter.
 
  $1,400   72x54cm  
               
Tibetan Farmer by Zhang Ai Min (Dapu) 761. Tibetan Farmer, oil painting by Dapu (Zhang Ai Min)

We had seen several of Dapu's paintings of farming scenes from Xinjiang and Tibet, and we wanted to own one.  Although China always likes to show its modern side to the rest of the world, we have seen the real China in our travels.  For example, it is quite common to see a farmer walking his cow down the road, and it is common to see farmers plowing fields with antique farm equipment.  Moreover, with much mountainous terrain, in China, farming is done in the most unlikely places, like terraced hillsides with rice paddies and irrigation streaming down from a mountain spring.

We particularly loved this painting for its truth and the common scene of simple life that it shows.  The impasto painting of the tilled earth enhances its sense of realism.
  $1,400   72x54cm  
               
Limbo by Zhang Ai Min (Dapu) 741. Limbo (净界), original oil painting by Zhang Ai Min (Dapu), 2010

Living on and traveling around the Tibetan Plateau, Dapu has done a number of paintings of temples and temple towns.  This one shows such an isolated Buddhist temple village from a distance with the mountains green with lush vegetation, in the summertime.  In the center of the village, we can see the red-colored temple dominating the rest of the small village, and to the far left, we see the white inverted bowl dagoba tower, which is a typical feature of Tibetan Buddhist temples.

It is a lovely, smaller landscape scene.
  $750   40x50cm  
Haoniu by Zhang Aimin (Dapu)   Haoniu, original oil painting by Zhnag Aimin (Dapu), 2010          
               
Morning in Datan, painting by Dapu (Zhang Ai Min)   Early Morning in Datan, watercolor by Zhang Ai Min (Dapu), 2012   $1,200   73x52cm  
               
The Cook: oil painting by Dapu   The Cook: original oil painting on canvas by Dapu

In China, electric stoves are virtually unheard of: electricity and electric stoves are expensive, while gas and simple gas burners are cheap.  In the outer reaches of China, isolated from the modern world, even gas for cooking is scarce, so people do it the old-fashioned way with pots and pans on an open fire.  Dapu (Ai Min Zhang) has captured this simple act, brilliantly, in this portrait.  The flames lick upward, the heavy smoke billows through the pile of branches and, then, is whisked upward by the frenzied skyward race of the flames.  All the while, the cook calmly tends to her daily task.  It shows a slice of daily life of the Uyghur minority who live in the areas around Xinjiang, in Western China.  It is traditional of the women, in this particular area, to wrap their hair with that type of bandana.  It also reminds me of life at the internationally-recognized 18th century country inn that I created in the 1990's.  It had a large walk-in cooking fireplace with racks and cranes for heating pans and oven pots.  We used to use the fireplace to cook winter holiday dinners for our guests, and it was quite enjoyable to cook, in such a manner.
  
  Sold   50x60cm  
               
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