- Purchase/rental options available:
This article focuses on how Bernard Shaw’s plays build bridges to Chinese culture, through looking at the famous Chinese painter Xu Bei Hong’s Slave and the Lion (1924) and Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion (1912). Xu’s oil painting was created in 1924 in Berlin, where Siegfried Trebitsch’s translation of Androcles and the Lion had been staged in November 1912. Much of the message Xu invested in the painting reflected ideas young Chinese intellectuals were gathering from Shaw and his plays, especially concerning negotiations between authority and the individual will within the struggle for survival and resistance to oppression. Xu was part of an intricate network making use of Shaw to advocate social reforms and boost Chinese nationalism. The article examines the coexistence of the Western and Chinese perspectives in the painting to show how Xu dexterously made use of the original myth to provide multiple levels of meanings.