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Ancient Chinese astronomy divides the constellations into four groups which correspond to the four cardinal directions. Each direction is assigned a mythological creature as guardian; the Azure Dragon of the east, Vermilion Phoenix of the south, White Tiger of the west and Black Tortoise of the north.

Each guardian represents a colour, a season of the year, time of day, and a natural element.

Master sculptor Xu Xiao Yong, lauded as one of China's top sculptors, harnessed the vocabulary of classical Chinese sculpture to interpret the wonder and majesty of the celestial guardians in his inimitable style.