The Eagle Vanquishes the Snake

Ying She Dou (The Eagle Vanquishes the Snake)

A mighty eagle with sharp claws, and cold eyes suddenly descended from the sky. A white-flowered snake wandering on an ancient tree, before it had time to react, the eagle’s deadly claws had already penetrated deep into its abdomen, the snake instinctively struggled and twisted. The eagle and the snake looked at each other, their eyes full of unprovoked anger and the horror of death. The eagle roared ferociously with its mouth open; the snake also spit out his venomous tongue… The atmosphere of the picture is terrifying, tense, bloody, it makes people shudder and thrill.

This is a real scene shown in the Chinese painting “Ying She Dou”. The shape of the picture is thick and powerful, the composition is full and atmospheric, the coloring is extremely simple but vivid. The eagle and the snake were painted with fine, meticulous brushwork. Looking at the eagle: the towering wings are like mountains painted with thick ink, with an overwhelming momentum, and the pure scorched royal black is full of mysterious power. The accompanying withered tree trunk was painted with bold, vigorous strokes in the freehand style. It has the charm of a casual style together with the scholarly air and graceful ancient look typical of engraved stone seals. Unaffected, seasoned, extraordinary artistic skills are embodied in an image that simple lacks any sign of mediocrity.

After viewing the painting, in addition to being shocked, one cannot help but ponder the inner meaning of the painting. From the perspective of aesthetics and art: this is a masterpiece of Chinese painting with the spirit of symbolism. In most of the cultures, eagle is often a symbol of justice and righteousness, snake usually represents greedy, evil and malignity. The two parts are constantly fighting in world, and also in our mind kingdom.

The western philosopher Nietzsche once put the eagle and the snake as specific artistic images in literary works. He designated the eagle as the exemplification of wisdom and spirit. The snake, a creature living in the dark, acts as a symbol of desire. In his view, spirit and desire cannot be separated from each other, and although they are opposite to each other, they also depend on each other. Spirit connects with reality through body, and body enhances its own value through spirit. The high-end spiritual pursuit cannot be accomplished without the practical materialistic aspects of life embodied by the snake. On the other hand, a purely materialistic life, a rejection of the eagle’s virtue and insight, will only result in spiritual stagnation. Only through the combination of the two can human civilization continue to develop.

“Ying She Dou” is a Chinese painting that uses objects to describe people. The artist is H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. As a Buddha, he knows all the concepts of Eastern and Western cultures as well as the living conditions of all living beings. And his concerns and compassions for the fate of all living beings are incomparable. The painting represents the truth that justice will eventually triumph over evil. We should use the spiritual wisdom to watch our thoughts, and guide our words and conducts. In this way, we can bring out our best to each other, and together we could make the world more brighter kinder and happier.

This painting is in permanent collection of The International Art Museum of America

Ying She Dou (The Eagle Vanquishes the Snake)


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