Unfolded before me was a field of black bamboo sprouts, near and far, which appeared to be peeping at me, mocking me. They seemed short, shrunken with age. But I was wrong - they were sheaths left at the roots, which stayed to guard the young bamboo, now emerging a fresh, spring green colour, as they stretched rapidly upwards into the sky."
– Wu Guanzhong
Wu Guanzhong’s fondness for spring shoots, stems from his childhood memory of harvesting them, is the inspiration behind his popular bamboo series. He studied the robust growth of bamboo shoots meticulously, not minding waiting in the forest for one whole week just to capture the moment the plant breaks through the soil.
Executed in 1979, Bamboo Shoots in Spring celebrates the exuberance of flourishing sprouts amid a dense forest. Painted in striking black colour, the pointed figures of shoots, stout or slender, contrast vividly with the bamboo stalks in light-blue hue, rendering a sense of refreshing spontaneity by breaking the vertical uniformity of the soaring grove. The artist refined the black sheath by adding subtle touches of reddish-brown, green, and turquoise, encapsulating the bursting vibrancy of his beloved evergreen plant.
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