Mu Nu/Yellow River
by Hung Liu
from China, United States
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Foundation purchase, Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Major Accessions
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Mu Nu/Yellow River is a delicate etching work made by the Chinese-American artist Hung Liu, capturing a close-up shot of women dragging a ship upstream.
Mu Nu/Yellow River is a delicate etching work made by the Chinese-American artist Hung Liu, capturing a close-up shot of women dragging a ship upstream on the Yellow River. We know the two women here are mother and daughter from the title "Mu Nu", meaning "mother daughter" in Mandarin Chinese.
Ship hauler is a heavy labor job usually only renders by men. A famous Russian painting Barge Haulers on the Volga provides a full scene of a group of male workers dragging a barge on bank of the Volga River. It's not hard to tell that figures in both Burlaki na Volge and Mu Nu/Yellow River have exploited all of their strength and physical efforts to perform this job. In Mu Nu, the mother and daughter hunch down their bodies to better move forward with the massive weight being tighted to their waists.
With the help of technology, ship hauler no longer performs by human labor in today's China. Rather than Chinese women's contemporary life, this painting reflects an aspect of rural Chinese women's life conditions from 100 years ago. Why did Liu paint such a scene? The artist reveals her intention in an interview that she hopes to give voice to women who have existed in the history through her paintings. By choosing Chinese women in different age groups and from different social class, the artist made visible the invisible history of women, for example, from Mu Nu/ Yellow River we learn that women from a hundred year ago had already worked a hard labor job as men to support her family, an experience we can relate to very well in today's world.
Page created on 3/7/2021 8:22:35 PM
Last edited 3/8/2021 10:36:36 PM