Introduction to “The Tang People Playing Polo”, by Gao Runxiang

A glimpse of the traditional Chinese painting “The Tang People Playing Polo” by Mr. Zirou Ligang reminds us of the prosperous Tang Dynasty which was the beacon to the world one thousand and three hundred years ago. In his painting, horses flash by and aristocrats are full of confidence, and curvaceous daughters of noble families, once on horse, become enthusiastic and manly, totally different to their usual image of being bashful and gentle. State-level periodical Xinhua Monthly once put: By taking advantage of the five different saturations exclusive to traditional Chinese painting, Mr. Zirou Ligang brings to our eyes a vivid picture of galloping horses and waving mallets chasing a whirling ball.

Zirou Ligang, courtesy name Zi Rou, is from Heilong Jiang Province by origin and now resides in Beijing. By receiving education at the PLA Academy of Art, China Academy of Art and Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Mr. Zirou Ligang has realized his dream of becoming a full-time painter. In the 1980s, he had the opportunity to copy many murals of the Tang Dynasty, among which polo-themed ones aroused his utmost interest. He then devoted himself to producing paintings of this theme. His paintings highlight noble ladies’ charm, and also depict pampered youths’ enthusiasm and courtiers’ calm. Art exhibitions featuring polo-themed paintings by Mr. Zirou Ligang have been held in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Austria, Argentina, America, Brazil, India, Hong Kong and Macao. He has developed a new style of doing polo-themed painting, different from that of Mr. Li Gonglin, who’s known for his work “Tang Ming Emperor Playing Polo”.

Mr. Kissinger has at his home such a painting by Mr. Zirou Ligang and sees it as a treasure. The former US Secretary of State once said in his speech: In the long history of human civilization, there rose in China a Tang Empire which once led the fashion of the world. The painting entitled “The Tang People Playing Polo” by Mr. Zirou Ligang unveils the culture of the Tang Dynasty and the spirit of its people. In this sport, human and horses cooperate and coordinate to fulfill their most possible potential. So, polo, in my view, is more challenging than football and more graceful than golf.