The sculptures of Ju Ming combine traditional craftsmanship with modernism, and in the field of Modern Asian Art, Ju Ming has inherited and propagated the essence of Chinese culture. The three-dimensional creativity of Ju Ming’s seminal Taichi Series has earned widespread international favour, and many of the artist’s large sculptures have been collected by top-tier museums and private collectors. As for the smaller works of dimensions appropriate for indoor display that have appeared on the auction market, all have sparked intensely competitive bidding, demonstrating how the sculptures from this series are treasured and prized. For this evening auction, Sotheby’s presents Taichi Series - Single Whip (Lot 1041). The iconic single whip posture imbues this voluminous sculpture with the metaphysical philosophy of Chinese martial arts, making it the greatest of all of Ju Ming’s Taichi sculptures of this size.
Single Whip takes its form from a signature fighting posture of Taichi boxing. This posture does not express an offensive tactic; rather, it effectively allows the boxer to maintain a stable defensive stance in which they can use the opponent’s power against them. Powerful counterattacking force can be mustered in this calm posture, as Qi energy sinks into the boxer’s core, allowing them to retreat in order to advance. Thus this stance represents the apex of the Taichi philosophy of “using calmness to control strength”. The figure in Taichi Series - Single Whip has a low centre of gravity. Its right leg is bent and strong, allowing the left leg to coil into a powerful whip. The figure embodies a balance of Yin and Yang energy, exuding power, agility, and natural grace. This pose is focused not on strength but on intention, striking a perfect concordance with the core spirit of Ju Ming’s sculptural art. The rough exterior texture of the artwork expresses the creator’s decision not to sedulously polish away the traces of his work, embodying the philosophy of prioritizing simplicity over complexity. Ju Ming omits the details of the human figure in order to concentrate on its essence while preserving the natural texture of his wooden materials. In this way, he achieves a return to purity and simplicity, as well as a unity between man and nature. The essence of Ju Ming’s Taichi Series lies not in the reproduction of various practiced forms, but rather in the use of skilful sculptural technique to capture the energy of fleeting human movements. The boxer’s shoulders are natural and unrestrained, and the wood’s texture stands in for creased, flowing sleeves. Thus the artist imbues his simple raw materials with unbound tension and vitality.
The interrelated sculptures of Ju Ming’s Taichi Series are multitudinous, and each possesses a distinctive form and spirit. Taichi Series - Single Whip expresses the wise and brave posture of a martial artist patiently gathering energy for a powerful strike. Due to its extraordinary appearance and energy, this work presents a unique opportunity to collect one of Ju Ming’s prized Taichi Series sculptures.
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