Ancient Chinese astronomy divides the constellations into four groups corresponding to the cardinal directions, each assigned a mythological creature as guardian; the Azure Dragon of the east, Vermilion Phoenix of the south, White Tiger of the west, and the Black Tortoise of the north.
Collectively referred to as 四象 Sixiang or the Four Symbols, with the earliest depictions dated to the 5th millennium BCE, the extraordinary creatures are culturally significant across the civilisations of East Asia.
Master sculptor Xu Xiao Yong brings his skills to bear in Benevolence, harnessing the vocabulary of classical Chinese sculpture to interpret the wonder and majesty of the celestial guardians in his inimitable style.
Born and raised in the southeast province of Jiangxi, and recognised as one of China’s premier sculptors, Xu Xiao Yong is the recipient of several arts-related accolades. He serves as a member of the United Nations Arts Initiative, which provides a unique opportunity for members of the arts community to impact prioritized humanitarian emergencies and relief operations across the globe.