Dimensions: 20.5 x 20.5″
Media: mixed media on panel
The woman in this piece is an entertainer who was noted for the elaborate headpiece she is wearing, which was replete with crystals and pearls and weighed nearly 40 pounds. This series of portraits are known as Liu’s Da Fan Che series. Referring to the woman’s headdress, it translates literally as “tipover cart” head dress, according to Hung Liu. She describes it as a headdress so ornamental and laden with pearls and flowers that it could literally tip over. She loves the detail in the head dress, and she was enamored with drawing it. In this series of Da Fan Che, Liu created a portrait of her for every month of the year as well as one for the seasons. In Mid-Winter, she has included a buddha’s hand fruit on her headdress. In China, the Buddha’s hand fruit is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune.
“…Hung Liu is deeply committed to honoring those whom history has forgotten. The Chinese and American subjects of her works are laborers, refugees, and others whose names may not be recognizable but whose lives Liu commemorates with portraits that are at once intimate and noble. A young bride in China appears to await her wedding ceremony, her alert look suggesting wisdom beyond her years. A courtesan invites the viewer to admire her, yet her gaze tells us of an interiority beyond what she chooses to reveal. The portraits are taken from old found photographs to which Liu has added vibrant colors, abstract background elements, and rich symbolism.”
-Grace Parazzoli for Pasatiempo