Designed by the Italian missionary Giuseppe Castiglione and so forth, and made from the finest alloy bronze then by the artisans of aulic manufactory, these four national treasures of Yuanmingyuan Imperial Garden during the period of the Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty contain ample precious metal, and bear a deep solemn colour and exquisite craftsmanship, which reflects an exceedingly high level of art and technique. Because of their western missionary designer, the statues convey abundant artistic features of the West. For instance, with its two horns bending ahead, the bronze head of an ox has a distinct style of a Spanish bullfight. Additionally, quite different from the traditional Chinese image of a tiger, the bronze head of a tiger can be mistaken by many people as a lion except for the character of wang or king on its head, for the lion turns out to be the king of all animals in the eyes of Westerners. In contrast, the bronze head of a monkey in the shape of a monkey king bears a much more distinct traditional Chinese characteristic, and the bronze head of a pig harmonizes the formative art of the East and the West together, which can be respectively reflected in its cattail leaf fan-like big drooping ears of traditional Chinese characteristic and its boar-like image of sharp snout and protruding buckteeth that is quite different from the traditional Chinese image of a pig.

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