The Colour ink paintings are selected from the picture book Wu Song Beats the Tiger, which is a story in Water Margin – a Ming Dynasty novel about the Song Dynasty rebels. 

Author Liu Jiyou (刘继卣 1918 – 1983) received several Chinese and international awards for his artwork in Wu Song Beats the Tiger.

After years of working as a freelance kung fu coach and travelling around, Wu Song decided to return home to visit his old brother. When he arrived at the hilltop shortly before the sun was going down in the west, he spotted a tavern so he stepped in and ordered rice wine and roasted beef.

Barkeeper: Sir, if you take more than three bowls of rice wine, you must not advance your journey through Mt Jingyang.

Wu Song: Why not?

Barkeeper: Didn’t you read the notice posted on the walls? Mt Jingyang is currently ruled by a man-eating beast who has its military bases all over the mountain.

Wu Song: So? I’m just a passenger. Why should it pick a fight with me? Nuts? (leaves the tavern after emptying his 18th bowl of rice wine).

Tiger (leaps out of the bush): Hi, dare you hack into my network!

Wu Song (baffling): What? Where is your network?

Tiger (fuming): Each rock in the mountain is a cell in my network, don’t you understand!

Wu Song (jumps off the rock): Sorry about that. (picks up his club)

Tiger (springs forward): Are you out of your mind? You never informed me you’ve developed a weapon! You are the biggest threat to mountain peace!

Wu Song (dodges aside): No offence. It’s just for self-defence.

Tiger (shouting): Shut up! I’m the king of the jungle and the only one here allowed to develop, trade and utilise weapons, hear that?

Wu Song: Ok, calm down, I’m leaving the mountain with my club …

Tiger (pounces forward while snarling): You really think you can do that? Now, you may like to know, I’m hungry and I want to make myself powerful again, or I’ll be restless and can’t live at peace with humans although as a peace-loving beast I would love to respect human’s rights …

Wu Song (erupts): Enough of your bullshit! Just come here, try me, hie! I’ll give you some colour to see see and turn you into a paper tiger! Let’s find out who pa who!

So the tiger saw the colour …

“We must not show cowardice before a beast. We should learn from Wu Songthe the Tiger Beater. In the eye of Wu Song, beasts are beasts; whether you upset them or not, they will not give up their attempt on your life. When a beast pounces on you, you either kill the beast or are killed by the beast. There is no other way around” – a quotation from Mao Zedong

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