Water Buffalo – A Brief Introduction
The celebrated sculptor Huang Tu-shui was born on July 3, 1895 in Mengjia – what is today the area of Wanhua in Taipei City. A student at Dadaocheng Elementary School (now Taiping Elementary School), his achievements in his art classes were outstanding, earning him both praise and special guidance from his teachers. By recommendation of school officials, Huang gained admission to the Tokyo Fine Arts School. Upon graduation he continued to pursue advanced studies and became an authority in the area of sculpture. Seeing Huang’s work, you know what stands before your eyes is the work of a genius.
In October 1920, his work “Mountain Child Playing Flute” was warmly received at the Japanese Imperial Exhibition, and he thereafter enjoyed a good reputation in Japan’s art world. For the same exhibition in 1930, Huang put all his energy into the creation of his bas-relief “Water Buffalo.” His living quarters were far too small to accommodate his work, so he erected a workroom in his backyard. Subsequently, he fell sick from constant overwork and was diagnosed with peritonitis. Only a few days later, on December 26, Huang suddenly passed away at the young age of 36, and many mourned the loss of a great talent.
This bas-relief is 205cm high and 550cm wide. Its composition, while exacting, is also majestic and imposing. It displays a magnificent skill and is clearly one of his generation’s greatest masterpieces. Following his death, his wife Liao Chiu-gui presented this work as a gift to Zhongshan Hall, and it has been permanently set into the wall in front of Guangfu Auditorium for visitors to enjoy.