preparing for the confrontation
2012, oil, 46"h x 68"w
It is the summer of 1830 in an area that would become part of Montana Territory. A group of Piegan warrior society members have been tracking and following a band of Crow raiders who earlier attacked their encampment near Red Old Man's Butte, and made off with many horses. After days of furtive pursuit, the Piegans have caught up with their enemy and their stolen horses. The concealed Piegan warriors prepare to recover what's been taken from them. They plan a surprise strike, but not before prayers and preparations are made for success.
Zhuo's stunning composition connects several key elements, all networked together. He hints at the strong medicine power among this group of seasoned warrior society members.
Witness the primary figure's bear claw necklace, and hair-lock trimmed and painted war shirt bearing records of past battles. This shirt also has a quilled rosette design on the breast emblematic of Thunderbird. His leggings carry painted tadpole designs that represent the ineffable metamorphosis between the physical and spiritual realities. Another man wears the badge of a grizzly bear brave as evidenced by the claw arm band. The man bridling his horse wears a sacred and powerful perforated shirt, while another wears a split-horn bonnet. Two men wear the hair style of medicine pipe owners, and a fourth secures a thunder-buffalo-spirit horse mask on his mount. All of these men have won the right to wear such garments and talismans which act as heraldic insignia of all their deeds and dreams.