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Western eye, Eastern gods

Updated: 2013-06-03 17:35
By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily)

Western eye, Eastern gods

A digital print by American-Australian artist David Jay Reed features Buddha and Monkey King, gods from Chinese folk legends. [Photo/China Daily]

Gods and goddesses from Greek mythology are often represented in Western art, but American-Australian artist David Jay Reed is more interested in the gods from Chinese folk legends and Buddhism.

The 63-year-old artist's latest exhibition in Beijing features 12 digital prints of Chinese gods. He is exploring the Chinese gods' world via a Western interpretation.

"I've researched hundreds of Chinese gods on the Internet and selected 12 of the most interesting," says Reed who came to China five years ago.

"Twelve is an important number in China, just like the 12 zodiac animals," he says.

Some of the gods Reed depicts are from popular stories that have been made into movies and TV series, such as the story of Buddha and Monkey King, Guanyin (a Buddhist goddess) and moon goddess Chang'e.

But some are little-known, even to the Chinese, such as the Lady of the Bedchamber, who overseas what happens in the bedroom, and Qing Guang, king of the underworld, who inspects souls in his mirror of retribution.

"It's the visual thing that makes me choose these gods. When I read the story, the image pops up in my mind," Reed says.

Before moving to China, Reed lived in Japan for six years. He says he has spent a long time "immersed in Asian culture".

"Asian cultures seem similar to Westerners. There's Japanish (Japanese-English) in Japan and Chinglish (Chinese-English) in China," Reed says.

Western eye, Eastern gods

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