Advent Calendar Day 19

Eight Donkeys by Huang Zhou


Ink painting of donkeys by Huang Zhou (1925–1997)

The inscription on this tall scroll painting of eight donkeys reads:

“This extraordinary creature never tells a lie to itself;
for a 1000 years it never has a spare moment.

In wartime it runs between signal fire;
in peace time it serves under all commands day and night.

It suggests some grace to step on snow looking for plum blossoms,
or to chant a hymn when carrying luggage in mountains on a clear day.

In literature it is always looked upon with disdain;
today I would like to restore its beauty.”


Artist Huang Zhou was born in 1925 in Hebei province, China and began painting at an early age. After the People's Republic of China was established in 1949 he spent a number of years in the People’s Liberation Army recording the life and work of people living in the northwest border region.

Huang Zhou became a professional painter in 1955 and, after settling in Beijing, he met a number of renowned masters including Xu Beihong, Qi Baishi, and Li Kuchan, all of whom influenced him.

Eight Donkeys
Huang Zhou (1925–1997)

Painting 133.5 x 53 cm
Ink on paper


List of site pages