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4 Guardians Oakland
By estria   |   Watch
409 32 10K (1 Today)
Published: March 29, 2012
© 2012 - 2019 estria
4 Guardians painted with help from a ton of people, including 357, Bam, Vogue TDK.

Jose "Peps" Garcia and I are
pleased to present our mural concept.

This is our interpretation of the four Chinese celestial creatures. They are from left to right: Qilin (Kirin/unicorn), Fenghuang (phoenix), Dragon and Tortoise. Our goal here was for the larger shapes to be easily identifiable from the highway, and if people walk up to the wall, then they will see the details in each one. We have incorporated elements from contemporary hip-hop art forms within the body of each creature with the intention of connecting the younger generation with the old myths, culture, and ways. Within the creatures can be seen arrows, turntables, spray cans, and adidas shoes.

Here is the traditional meaning behind each creature. Many pardons if we have butchered this!

QILIN (Kirin/Unicorn)
It ate fire in its ravenous fury, but it was specially praised for being able to discriminate between good and evil, and that it would gore the wicked whenever it meets them. Appearing only when there was a wise and virtuous ruler, and that it had a discriminating mind that it enabled it to know when benevolent rulers or wise sages would appear in the world. It was considered to be able to walk on water, and that it had a perfect goodwill, gentleness, and benevolence to all living creatures. It is so gentle that when it walks it is careful not to tread on the tiniest living creature and will not even eat live grass but only what is dead. The span of this animal's natural life is a thousand years. In Chinese mythology, the Qilin was an animal of good omen that came to humans only on important missions.

In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is the symbol of high virtue and grace, of power and prosperity. It represents the union of yin and yang. It was thought to be a gentle creature, alighting so gently that it crushed nothing, and eating only dewdrops. It symbolized the Empress usually in a pairing with a dragon (the dragon representing the Emperor), and only Empress could wear the phoenix symbol.  The phoenix represented power sent from the heavens to the Empress. If a phoenix was used to decorate a house it symbolized that loyalty and honesty was in the people that lived there. Jewelry with the phoenix design showed that the wearer was a person of high moral values, and so the phoenix could only be worn by people of great importance.

The Chinese New Year Dragon is the emblem of guardianship and vigilance. The Chinese dragon has long been a potent symbol of auspicious power in folklore and art. The Dragon is a beneficent and gracious creature and is worshipped as the divine ruler of Lakes, Rivers and Seas. It is the powerful yet gentle 'Loong" that brings rain to the earth, hasten the crops and cools the toiling framer. The Chinese dragon is traditionally also the embodiment of the concept of yang (male) and associated with the weather as the bringer of rain and water in an agriculturally water-driven nation. Its female counterpart is the Fenghuang.

The tortoise represents longevity, of steadfast effort, of deliberate action that inevitably leads to success. The combination of the Dragon and Tortoise combines the qualities of both animals into a potent symbol of success and longevity. Dragon Tortoise symbolizes good fortune and longevity.
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internetuser13's avatar
bro you coulld ccreate new pokemons
these are ill
Akse-p19's avatar
Akse-p19Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome Production!
Om-nom-nomnivore's avatar
Om-nom-nomnivoreStudent Traditional Artist
I know the first three are a Qilin, Phoenix, and a dragon, but what is the last one called?
sasukeissohot97's avatar
sasukeissohot97Hobbyist General Artist
3rd from the right.... gyarados? XD
BATA4's avatar
Your setting the standard.
estria's avatar
estriaProfessional Artist
Thanks. Just trying is all.
CravenLunatic's avatar
CravenLunatic Digital Artist
Ooh, that's in Oakland? Where? I must go see it.
estria's avatar
estriaProfessional Artist
It's facing the tracks. Enter the gate in the fence of the parking lot next to East Bay Asian Youth Center. It's at E. 12th St at 20th Ave. I have another wall next to it on EBAYC. Both murals face towards the bay.
CravenLunatic's avatar
CravenLunatic Digital Artist
Wow, it's actually visible from google maps street view. XD But I think I'll still go see it in person one of these days.
estria's avatar
estriaProfessional Artist
Awesome, I didn't know that.
SkarletFeather's avatar
SkarletFeatherStudent General Artist
Now that is some serious street art! I wish there was more of this on our walls where I live rather than the lame attempts of some punks. Any who fantastic illustration style and great use of colors.

This is just completely freehand? no use of stencils? did you use organic wheat paste or the old school paint can? ;P also how long did it take to do this painting? :meow:

sorry to ask so many questions :blush: but it's just super cool!
estria's avatar
estriaProfessional Artist
Thank you. Yes, no stencils, all freehand, all spray paint. I think it took us a month using ladders. Would have been much faster with a boom lift.
SkarletFeather's avatar
SkarletFeatherStudent General Artist
:highfive: thats amazing! it is a very unique illustration, the colors just make my eyes go crazy. Great job to you and your team :)
Icy-Tempest's avatar
byakko, suzaku, seriyuu and genbu??
Mushroma's avatar
MushromaStudent General Artist
wooow super kl, i love the tortoise especially <3 :happybounce:
Ant-artistik's avatar
Ant-artistikHobbyist General Artist
this is marvelous work, bravo!
noname2431's avatar
I am Chinese and I think your 4 guardians is awesome...
estria's avatar
estriaProfessional Artist
Wow, thanks! I'm not Chinese, but I tried to paint it proper.
orngeturtl's avatar
super cool. kudos to everyone involved
setsume's avatar
I love the detailing. Very Beautiful.
Stone2Gold's avatar
Are these of the 9 dragon sons?
blu-kitsune's avatar
blu-kitsuneHobbyist General Artist
I can never remember the names of the tiger and the turtle! Or is it tortoise?
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