Lot 123

U Lun Gywe
b. Myanmar, 1930

Buffaloes, 1996

signed and dated (lower right)
oil on canvas
59 x 76cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur

ESTIMATE RM 12,000 – 24,000
Water buffaloes once lorded over the padi-fields in Southeast Asia but have long been rendered obsolete by advance in agriculture technology. Reputed for their strength, diligence and loyalty, they were the farmers’ best friends in tilling the muddy rice-fields. Rice is still the main agricultural product of the country. The fable of the boy herder and the buffalo is a favourite in Chinese brush paintings as early as the Sung and Yuan periods, even now symbolising the symbiosis between Man and domesticated animals, as buffaloes roamed the wilds at least some 7,000 years ago. In Myanmar or what was formerly known as Burma, such laborious method might still be found in certain rural areas, as the military-ruled republic was a late bloomer in economic development after decades of civil war, stagnation and isolation. Myanmar was only admitted into Asean in 1997.

U Lun Gywe, now an ailing 90, is without doubt the most revered and accomplished artist in Myanmar today. He fuses Western Impressionist fervour with Myanmar spirituality and Buddhist concepts. He was initially trained at home by the greats such as U Ngwe Gaing, U Thet Win, U Chit Maung and U Thein Han. In 1964, he studied Chinese brush techniques and oil painting at the Beijing Central Academy Of Fine Arts, and in 1971, he spent a year in East Germany studying European art and art restoration under Prof Indo Tim.